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/tg/ - Traditional Games

Nechronica thread.

>Anyone still playing this game?


>Where do I get an English translation of this Japanese tabetop RPG?

-The wiki has the most up to date translation: https://nechronica.miraheze.org/wiki/Main_Page
-You can play Nechronica on Tabetop Simulator. Check the Steam Workshop for the resources.

>Last time:
-English Translation of the large battle map
>the thread goes up at 10:20 on my worknight
Oh well. My days off are coming up soon so I'll actually be able to interact with the thread this time. Have some art and a bump in the meantime.
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I'm excited for the campaign I've been running to start happening again after a few weeks of cancellations due to ongoing technical issues.
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Does anyone know what happened to this group?
>Reinforcement parts
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What would a handheld machine for for see doll/people/monster parts Back together look like?

Regular sewing machines and regular hand held sewing machines are quite specialized in handling things with very thin cross sections like fabric.
Is she about to break her buddy out of prison?
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>-English Translation of the large battle map
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One thins I love about Nechronica is how much fun you can have reskinning things.
Here is the compact map.
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This game seems like it was made for lewd loli RP for people with /d/-tier fetishes...
Well, yes, but also for having heartwarming stories of sisterly love and copious amount of undead-dismembering fight scenes.
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Kinda hard to tell with this artist sometimes, but I think in that one it's just supposed to be a hazard/obstacle to hide behind.

Eh. It sort of is. My groups just... don't do that. There's plenty of opportunity for drama without adding the romance stuff to the mix and we'd rather just not go into it.
Shonen ai is fine too
Would they be a psychedelic or some custom class?

Romanesque and the fanwork class Salemite. Psychedelic is more standard telekinesis and empath, where as Salemite you could work its stuff to be alchemy.
I'm the DM of those. The current Nech game is on hold duo to a few life issues but said breaktime is filled with another game. We'll pick it up again eventually.
It's perfect for that. There are many erotic things you can do that make sense, such as removing a limb and strapping it to another doll. You can roleplay sharing your senses as you both pleasure the same body, or even do something like swapping out the eyes of two dolls so they can watch their own bodies get fucked form the outside.

You can also emply these ideas and others in the story itself with antagonists implanting their own parts to take over characters while conving them it's just better to give in or carrying around still moving parts from other dolls they torture or rape for their own amusement. I highly suggest the system for anyone looking into more varied ERP ideas, there are lots of things to choose from.
What kind of campaign was/it it?
A fairly regular one involving traveling. Group woke up in an underwater lab creating undead, captures a submarine and escapes, traveling along the coastlines and making possible more than a few moraly questionable decision.
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Do any GMs / DMs / Necromancers in this thread have any advice or guidelines for what giving an enemy parts that let them spawn in more enemies is good for?

When to use those parts?

What kinds of enemies to give those parts to?

And how to determine how enemy summoning adjusts the difficulty of the encounter?

>advice or guidelines for what giving an enemy parts that let them spawn in more enemies is good for?

Either for making the PCs rush for something or "punishing" them for doing something else. Enemy spawners apply time pressure to do something, or a deterrence from doing something, if it's clearly triggered by something.

>When to use those parts?
When there isn't enough pressure on the PCs, whether it's not enough attacks or enemies or they aren't pushing to complete whatever it is they're supposed to do. Enemy spawning works as a very strong "Take this out ASAP" and any non-retarded party is going to make it their 1st priority.

>What kinds of enemies to give those parts to?
Scenario bosses or enemies that are more "support" oriented. What you don't do is give it to an enemy that can ONLY spawn more enemies because then a series of misses on the PC side can lead to an obnoxious number of things being spawned. Basically, there needs to be a reason it might do something other than spam more enemies unless you're fine with potentially and hilariously overwhelming the PCs with sheer numbers.

>And how to determine how enemy summoning adjusts the difficulty of the encounter?
Depends wildly on the party and the encounter. If the objective of the scenario is to kill a specific enemy and they can spawn more legions and have carrion shield, or spawns something that has protect, it can significantly increase the time required to kill the enemy, but even then, if it's a legion, a party that has decent area attacks should be able to clear legion spawns without too much difficulty, assuming they hit and the legions aren't spawning where friendly fire will prevail. A key thing would be keeping in mind PC damage output and how much it might take them to remove the horror that can be spawned in a bunch.

Somewhat less extreme, you can also do parts that spawn in more shit when broken.
Is the Junk skill Lame Beast good?

It seems like it gets strongest when you may be too damaged to make good use of it.

It isn't too hard to make a build with one or two hit locations you can justify sacrificing, torso being the easiest hit location to sacrifice. If you have a protect stacy or coordinate with your team, you can get yourself mauled and get a +2 to attack checks with relatively low risk.
If you build for it, it can be absurdly strong. Any frontliner with all their vital parts stuffed into 1 or 2 hit locations is able to majorly benefit from it.

Typically, the best combos for it are things that let you adjust what hit location takes damage, whether through Supports/Hinders or more specialized abilities like Baroque's Mutated Being, the Quadruple Amputee mutation, and Stacy's Protect. The last of these even works either when you have a Sister with the skill just as well as when you have it yourself, as it's trivial to selectively take damage to your less vital hitzones when you already know what location is going to get hit.
In my experience, enemy-spawning parts are an easy way to add pressure and make players prioritize killing the spawner, which should usually be the core enemy in its associated encounter. Avoid using more than one Action-based spawner in an encounter.

It's easy to fumble the balance for less experienced GMs, but it can be worked with if you have a feel for how an encounter is currently swinging and won't just overwhelm the PCs with unmanageable numbers.

A good rule of thumb is that spawn rate should depend on what is being spawned, though exact numbers will always have to be tweaked based on the party composition and optimization level.

Legions that spawn in small quantities are usually acceptable to pump out at a somewhat steady rate.

Something like a 3-4 AP Action maneuver to make a Horror is usually fair if it's not too sturdy and doesn't have instantly devastating attacks (you're probably fine if they hit for 2-3 damage per attack, or 1 damage plus a property).

Spawned Horrors generally shouldn't be too easily oneshot. In a party of 4, assuming all their attacks hit (which they usually won't), I'd probably balance toward with something like 2-3 AP from from 2-3 PCs to land a kill on a spawned Horror from full health.

For most parties of low-Favor (read: probably 30 or less) PCs, anything that spawns more than 1 Horror at a time is dangerous, and should probably be a 1/round maneuver at most. It's easy for PCs to get overwhelmed when they're are still newer and don't have a good variety of options.
Of course, in a party with decent Area Attacks, you certainly have more leeway.

As a little GM tip, I'd advise that you set a number for yourself as the max amount of spawned enemies on the field at one time, as well as how many you'd want active on average. Obviously, you shouldn't tell the players these numbers, nor even really that they exist. Even just the threat of being able to spawn more enemies is a powerful weapon in your arsenal.
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Currently working on a sorta homebrew nechronica setting. I was hoping to get some more ideas and revisions from yall.

No one has ever found an edge to purgatory. As far as anyone can tell the city goes on forever into the dull yellow fog in the distance. Permanently locked in the dim orange glow of twilight, the sky is covered in a thick, tangled layer of smog and clouds, turning the once piercing light into a dull, putrid mass.

he city itself is a twisting beast, seemingly with a mind of its own. The streets are made of compact rubble and bone, buildings haphazardly built atop one another. Wires criss-cross between buildings for no apparent reason. Small portions of the city can run water and electricity but how they do so is a mystery.

The city itself is set atop twisting corridors locked away that lead to buried cities below. Each layer of purgatory full of less and less autonomous undead. At the heart of purgatory, the necromancers make plans for the next city to be built. They joyfully watch the newcomers to purgatory struggle against its horrors and madness. For the longer you remain in purgatory the more likely you are to become nothing more than a beast, some who fall to the curse even transform into more hideous forms.

Veterans know to stay on the surface of purgatory, sometimes forming gangs for protection. The necromancers continue to formulate plans for the next layer to be built on top in an attempt to force the dolls deeper.

It is said that anyone who makes it to the heart of purgatory can finally escape from this twisted city. The reality is that those who “escape” purgatory take the place of the necromancer and rule over the city, finally finding the control many desperately strive for.
What happens to the old Necromancer? Do they just get bumped off?
This feels like some dread realm of Ravenloft.

I like it.
Yeah i didnt really think about it. An idea I had was that they wake up again as a doll with no memories, kind of repeating the cycle if they have the same goal of escaping purgatory
My it's possible for a nechromancer to wind up a doll, or for. A backup of a nechromancer's memories to be looted by another nechromancer and used to make the mind for a new doll.
>Something like a 3-4 AP Action maneuver to make a Horror is usually fair if it's not too sturdy and doesn't have instantly devastating attacks (you're probably fine if they hit for 2-3 damage per attack, or 1 damage plus a property).

Now I'm imagining spawning in fast moving horrors equipped with zombie bomb and Second Form. They fly out from the savant like a mix between a high explosive guided missile and PokeBall.
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I am sort of amused by the idea of Purgatory being a giant, endless King of the Hill match. I'm not sure I really like it for a tabletop setting because... well, what's the players' win condition/endgame? Would you fade into an epilogue once they killed the Necromancer and usurped his throne? Do you have an alternate adventure idea set up?
Do they have an incentive for exploring the lower levels?

I'm curious to know how dolls travel between layers. There could be a lot of opportunity there for setting up some trippy visuals.
That is why I came in the first place, for advice. So thank you

I came up with the setting separate from nechronica, then after reading through I really liked it and wanted to somehow combine the two ideas.

My current thoughts on win condition are ascending to become a necromancer, and coming to understand the curse of the city. It may be somewhat open-ended by I think there's a bit of finality in knowing that either you'll get replaced again and again, or eventually fall prey to the city.

I hadn't thought up more of an incentive than escaping but perhaps the further down there are rarer things like parts or something like that. Perhaps there are older and wiser folks in those depths. Idk I very recently came up with this idea as a whole so it's still in the works.

I hadn't thought of any alternative adventure ideas but I'd assume gather information for surface gangs could turn into something. Perhaps raiding a base or something along those lines. Taking out a big boss threatening a hideout. I guess I didnt leave a lot of room for alternatives in the setting.
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What are our chances of getting more Gravel Storytime, Red Planet Storytime, or Port Storytime in this thread?

>Do you have an alternate adventure idea set up?

>Do they have an incentive for exploring the lower levels?

This anon is asking the important questions.
What artist or collective produced that image?
Why delve into the depths? I can think of a few justifications.

Clearly, there's only so far you can climb upward, so down is the obvious way left to go.

Perhaps when the necromancers make a new city, it's physically dropped onto the old one. That certainly makes for a good reason to avoid staying too close to the surface.

If things like working electricity and the like are a rarity, deeper down might have the parts needed to keep the rare bastions of civilization lit up and running. A scavenger society makes sense, particularly when it's by necessity. Heck, you could do a lot with different settlements at varying depths having to feud over the same limited resources.

If the lower areas are older, then perhaps there's some surviving information down there about how the world came to be like this, or at least old-world methods for maintaining and possibly restoring civilization.

Those who delve deep and return with valuables are sure to gain the esteem of their peers. Some probably do it for recognition, or to be able to live in relative comfort.

Others probably just want to know what's at the bottom. The sense of discovery is enough for some people.
>What are our chances of getting more Gravel Storytime, Red Planet Storytime, or Port Storytime in this thread?

As one half of the duo responsible for Gravelposting, I can say I'm a goddamned fool who once again failed to adequately prepare in the several weeks between this thread and the last. I'll do my best to get at least a fairly solid chunk of words done for it before this Tuesday's out, at least, though I make no guarantees on this beyond the fact my partner in this endeavor will devour me whole if I fail to deliver words before the thread falls off the board.

It's just a normal party having a game.
How's the large battle map work? I've only ever seen the compact one in the handbook
If resources and utilities were better the deeper you get but most of the saner undead live on the top levels I'd be tempted to play a character who tried to build a large group of followers and organize them into a force that could make an organized go of retaking and fortifying parts of the lower levels that have power, then wire a connection back up to the surface, and use that success to convince more surface dwellers to sign up for training and join efforts to expand out from our fortified toehold in the lower levels.

It reminds me of a campaign I played I. Labyrinth Lord where after recovering an artifact from the upper levels of a giannt tomb complex, we convinced the noble who wanted it to extend our contract and also hire on some engineers, carpenters, and laborers.

We went full British museum on that place.
We adventurers would clear locations of monsters and traps. Then some of the laborers and engineers would move the fortified checkpoint forward or build another one. Meanwhile the rest of the force was taking all the artifacts, sarcophagi, decorations, and such and cataloging them, and hauling them up and out using a complex crane and pully system so they could be hauled all the way back to town and reassembled in a series of extensions being added to the nobles mansion. It was going to be the ultimate showpeice to impress other nobles and show that he was for real.

After some very fun and challenging fights and challenges we all died screaming in the dark hot depths being strangled to death one by one by some sort of infernal shadowbeast our weapons couldn't harm.

That said I think our plans to make sure everyone else evacuated and resealed the complex in the event we woke up something we couldn't handle worked, so yay.
>What are our chances of getting more Gravel Storytime, Red Planet Storytime, or Port Storytime in this thread?
I plan to bring the Port campaign up to date before I go to sleep tonight; there's two sessions worth of happenings to post up so it might bleed into tomorrow. Depends on how quickly I get through my obligations for today.

Once that's done I'll probably resume the Coleo campaign. Me and my DM finally worked out some order of operations stuff that we needed to figure out so I can finally post about it again. A lot of stuff's happened since I left off.
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>How's the large battle map work? I've only ever seen the compact one in the handbook

Here is an example of it in use.

Your position on the map is determined by you region


and your current AP.

You only need 1 token to keep track of both.

Whereas on the compact map I've often found it necessary to have two tokens per unit. One on the map to show position. and one on the AP counter.

I find the Compact map more useful in Roll20 and the Big map useful in situations where you have more space to work with like Tabletop Simulator.
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Tokens used in the above demonstration.
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What have people's experiences been with the fanworks classes? Some of them seem like they could be fun; though some seem like they might break the game.

I've only used core book classes (with Dance of Distortion skills but those were folded into the core book) so far.
Most of the comments I've seen on the fan classes make it sound like the bulk of them suffer from balancing issues. Erudite seems inoffensive (Erudite being a class that focuses on Blast the same way Requiem focuses on Shooting), and Chariot looks like they'd have a cool gimmick if you can get another player to go along. Drug Eater looks like a bit of good fun if the Necromancer plays along.

A big gripe I have about a few of them is that their skill lists tend to function like fancy parts more than, y'know, actual skills. Jester is particularly bad about that.
What do you mean by feeling like parts instead of skills?
I use it's mechanics to play a nanomachine-enhanced superhuman cyberpunk setting.
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Most of the skills have broader applications in how to approach the game, like how Lullaby makes all the Shooting attack parts more efficient or how Drawn to Tartarus incentivizes a playstyle that likes being stuck in on the front line.

A few of the fan classes feel more like collections of custom parts to facilitate a playstyle. Like how Jester's Hidden Weapon is literally just two different attack maneuvers you can pick between, or how Minelayer is just... something that lays mines. They don't feel like aspects of a Jester character being translated into an effect on gameplay, they feel like class exclusive equipment.
That's true. Some of them are even worse about it and are just regular attacks like Sanguine Spear or outright give you an extra part like Grappler.
I can kind of see skills granting extra parts being a thing. I like it on the Drug Eater, for example. Though those dolls are so radically different than normal player characters that I think you could argue them as the exception that proves the rule.

My big gripe is skills that just act like equipment. Jester especially just feels like a class you could make with custom parts rather than offering you a significantly different gameplay experience.
Prosperous Electronica is a trashfire, but most of the others are good additions.

Honestly, don't worry about most fan classes breaking the game, even when used in combination. Most of the really gamebreaking stuff is vanilla+Dance of Distortion. The majority of the fan classes are way better balanced than, say, Thanatos.
Not running anything at the moment, but I'm trying to think up some material in case my group ever wants to return to the campaign we left off on.

Been trying to come up with NPC ideas and something I've kinda pinged on are undead or dolls that have been integrated into equipment or machinery. Or maybe otherwise turned into equipment or heavy machinery, such as an 'auto-doc' that's a surgeon with six arms or a zombie that's been converted into a small, self propelled artillery piece. I've also considered dolls who have been integrated into stationary systems, their brains wired up as an impromptu logic board for a powerful computer or complex electrical network or something.

Interested in whether or not some other anons might have any ideas I could borrow from.
Both people bailed on my IRL nechronica game... one the day of and the other one 2 hours after the game was scheduled. :*(
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Well, new Nech thread, same old song and dance. Do you want god-knows-how-many posts of Gravel, anons? So long as at least one person’s enjoying it, that’s enough for me. And I'm only a few minutes off the mark with my earlier statement that I'd try to get something done before Tuesday was out on my end, so, eh, I'm content.

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/72655511/#p72732935 Session 1
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73453448/#p73480748 Session 2
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73453448/#p73509701 Session 3
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73798681/#p73848425 Session 4
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73798681/#p73860863 Session 5

Session 6, coming atcha.


Once more does a night of deliciously alcoholic vice (and chickens, this time) result in dolls awaking all tangled up in bed together, sans the bartender who was, for once, miraculously already doing her job of running her bar instead of letting the local Chinese presence handle that while she’s stuck in bed taking care of young girls. As pleasantly upbeat tunes drift into the bedroom from the bar’s radio, Aida is the first to wake, rubbing at her eyes before, despite enjoying sleeping with everyone else much more than crashing on the couch, she swiftly moves on to try and rouse her sisters as well. Her opponents in this case are the swolest musclegirl of the wasteland and the ever-smiling albino, the latter wrapped up in the former’s arms and both of them most thoroughly out cold.

“It’s morning!” Aida declares, shoving at Adrian. “It’s time to wake up!” After last time they’d all slept in the same bed was so quickly interrupted by Adrian growing bored, Aida refuses to fall for anything the muscle might say.

Such as “Five more minutes…” sleepily grumbled, as Adrian hugs her white-haired birb nice and tight.
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>undead or dolls that have been integrated into equipment or machinery. Or maybe otherwise turned into equipment or heavy machinery, such as an 'auto-doc' that's a surgeon with six arms or a zombie that's been converted into a small, self propelled artillery piece

Pretty common thing for enemies/npcs, personally. There's a lot of fodder in how you can characterize someone based on how they feel about being turned in a tool with limited application.

>A doll who's been turned into a fishing machine. She can catch, clean, and gut fish of all kinds, but not much else. The fact that the oceans are acidic cesspits that only undead abominations can survive doesn't stop her from trying to catch something anyway since she has little else to do. She even somehow keeps an aquarium filled with the less dangerous catches she's made.
>A girl built into a roadroller. She claims she can identify anything by the sound and feel of it being smushed by her. She's always looking for new things to run over.
>Crane girl. She hates her job. The only thing she is good for is moving large boxes and she isn't shy about how much she hates it. She's so ornery that the wrong word could get some of her workload tossed at whatever offended her.
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“But you won’t even go back to sleep!” While Aida perhaps can’t be faulted for her irritation, poking Adrian in the stomach with her rather long, dangerously sharp nails is an unwise move, even if they fail to pierce rock-hard abs. Instead, such dangerous poking gets Adrian lurching upright and reflexively grabbing Aida in a headlock. “He-hey! Let go! Waaaaake up!”

Adrian doesn’t quite process what’s going on yet, her reactor running but sensors still coming online as she yawns out a dazed “What’s the matter…?”

“This is the wrong up,” Aida says, pointing at her head in the muscle’s grip. There’s more confusion on Adrian’s part, and more yawning besides that puts a truly impressive array of sharp teeth on display. “Let go of my head!” Aida demands, wriggling said head about in another useless attempt to break loose.

“Oh.” It takes this long for Adrian to get up to speed enough that she realizes what she’s doing, and so she releases the bomb before any explosions can happen. Now that she’s up, though, it’s too difficult a task to go back to sleep, and that’s about when the both of them are distracted by the droning of the radio from the main area of the bar, which is what allows Altina to remain happily unconscious and curled up under cozy blankets.

(Her player wasn’t available for a good chunk of the session, so much of this particular episode is focused on Adrian and Aida.)

The very sophisticated music for true patricians such as Carla eventually fades out, to be replaced by the usual radio chatter of someone who has absolutely nothing else going for her in her unlife.
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“It's the Matinal Program, on Kalombe Radio, a feast for your ears. Good god, time flies when you play the same track everyday at the exact same appointed hour for a decade, wouldn't you agree? This is your host, Carla, reminding you that some fine Chinese folks promised to find me new records to play. See, they aren't all that bad. Let's hope their taste in music is better than yours, you bunch of philistines. It's ten o' clock in the morning, Undead Standard Time, so it's time for our news segment. This week is marked by yet more awful happenings. Horrifying for the participants, but our listeners may find this at least more entertaining than our usual slow news days. After the massacre and general destruction of our equipment at one of our quarries near the outskirts of town, allegedly caused by Ruski deserters coming from Anatolia, we had several gunfights downtown. The ones involved are reported to be solely local guerrillas.”

The muscle and bomb shuffle on out of the bedroom while such informative talk continues for as long as Carla has time to chat, and what’s being discussed in particular gets a “Hey, that’s shit we did,” from Adrian.

“It is!” Aida says, clamoring for reparations in being lifted up by Adrian properly, as opposed to just a headlock. “I guess we’re on the news more?”

Her suspicions are confirmed (and a lift given) as the radio keeps broadcasting. “A number of guerrillas were saved by a local group of foreigners, then taken to reassembly by the Committee. We do not have access to the exact numbers at this time, but it seems only a small minority died as a result. Now, you may be asking why the guerrillas were fighting amongst themselves? Well, regardless on whether you're fresh from the grave or not... They're back! Yes, you guessed it. It's the good ol' mind-controlling plague insects, as originally designed by a notorious European necromancer."
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"They made their way here once more after the initial purge more than two years ago. It seems we're geared towards a second purge, as the Committee already destroyed two buildings downtown said to be housing nests yesterday. There are many folks out there speculating that the vanishing of our esteemed mayoress and her family are directly tied to these recent incidents.”

“Because they are,” says Adrian.

“Perhaps in anticipation of public concern,” the radio continues, for it cannot actually hear Adrian's commentary, “the Committee has already organized a public appearance of the Colonel, our current leader in these dire times. If you're interested in hearing out their explanation, or if you'd like to throw rotten food at the Colonel, be sure to attend it. It is scheduled for today, at one. As the mayoress's old manor was destroyed, it'll be held in front of the clinic. It seems they intend to address other concerns as well. I'll be there, too, to hear them out and I'll be taking notes. So if you'd rather not go, just tune in during our nightly news segment so I can fill you in on the details. Provided they're not complete bull. Now, back to the music.”

As song fills the airwaves and drives its routine listeners to madness, Adrian wonders whether they should actually attend this meeting, but Aida has an astute grasp of what this would involve. “They’re just gonna talk a lot about bugs, aren't they? We could go blow up bugs instead! That'd be more fun than listening to people talk about bugs.”

“Where would we go to blow up more?” Adrian wonders. “Downtown, I guess? There's always something going on with bugs when we go down there.” She shrugs, bug-tracking not in her job description.
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It’s at this point Rita emerges from the shadows, having been attending to Mysterious Bartender Things while dolls listened to news programs. “Does it matter? Seems like trouble follows wherever you go.” Adrian immediately seizes the opportunity to tell her she looks nice this morning, which Rita is entirely fine with. “My, how gratuitous. But appreciated.” More relevantly, there’s a question about what happens at these meetings. “They get yelled at by the populace. It’s pretty entertaining, I’ll admit… though to be fair, Carla did call me early in the morning to tell me there was a meeting. Maybe I'll go for once. Meanwhile, your Russian buddies apparently are going to use this opportunity to infiltrate the Committee's office. Not the wisest move, but hey, they found an opportunity.”

“Why do they wanna do that?” asks the muscle, because this kind of tomfoolery from people she’s been in bed with is concerning.

“Your guess would be as good as mine,” Rita says with a shrug.

“And you're not gonna tell someone who can do something about it?”

“At worst, they get caught and ignite the war again. At best, they get away with it and the war is delayed a little bit further. I'm a third-party. And you're foreigners. Would you really want to get involved?”

“Oh,” says Adrian at all of this, as Rita gives her a look that borders on guilty and concerned. “I still don't really get it. People here just don't give a shit about Russians or Chinese?”

“Well, whoever wins will be coming for us next. Best case scenario for us would be they blow each other up completely. But that's just me. I'm sure there are plenty of girls out there itching to fight in the war again.” This kind of talk leaves Rita looking rather sad.

Adrian just shrugs, taking her Islamic passenger for a ride with the motion. “Sounds like all we could do is to just get it started early.”

Rita perks back up. “That's the one thing I like about the Colonel, she's a bit more focused on us. She's one of the few peeps on the Committee that are actually against the war. The mayoress herself was in favor of it. The way things are here, it just means African girls will be drafted to fight for the Chinese in Anatolia. The Russians will have to fight three fronts at once, so they'll probably lose Anatolia for good. China has the wall, of course. So they can't march directly into the Emperor's palace from Siberia and kill him. Both sides are thinly-spread. But considering the Russians have to worry about the robots and the European remnants I'd say our Chinese overlords have a pretty good chance at winning this.”

Soaking all this in, Adrian’s response is “I'm not sure I like this political shit. I'd rather just punch someone and be done with it.”

“See?” says Rita. “That’s why I didn’t want to wake you up.”

“Yeah,” Aida says, finally seeing fit to do more than enjoy being held aloft by the giant musclegirl. “All this war stuff sounds really complicated. Who'd wanna bother with it?”

“It's best if you don't get involved,” Rita advises. “Especially since your necromancer isn't around. You can't really take sides without one.”

“We don’t even know who ours is,” Adrian says.

“Well, if you guys really are European... He's most likely dead. Or in hiding. The Europeans did a good job of wiping each other out.”

“Oh well!” Aida is unbothered by past genocides. “Having a necromancer sounds like it gets you dragged into wars or something. Now we don't gotta worry about that!”

“Right?” Rita says. “It's a good thing, really. Although losing theirs meant they were vulnerable and ready to get enslaved. Oh, this poor country.” Despite her words, Rita gives off a genuine smile. “But you guys are holding up just fine.”

Adrian holds up the finest, really. “If it turns out they're not dead and try to get us to do shit for'em, I'll tell'em to fuck off.”

Rita laughs. “That’s so like you. But you wanna keep punching bugs, right?”

Adrian shrugs again. “Gotta have something to do.”

“Blowing up bugs is simple and fun!” Aida concurs. “You go, you blow up bugs, Allah is happy, you come back and drink tasty meat drinks.”

“So nice.” Rita is all for things that make these girls happy. However, she’s helpful in other ways as well. “Well, you could always just wander around aimlessly looking for the bugs. Or... You could take Kuku to the meeting with you and seek out whoever is controlling them.” When Adrian asks how the chicken girl could help, the answer is “She can control chickens. And that's because she inherited a significant portion of the necromancer's power. As such, she has the potential to detect other girls that, similarly, have a large amount of power about them. Now, I can't guarantee that it's some powerful girl that is behind all this but... It's a good guess, right?”

“So she’s more powerful than everyone else?” Adrian asks.

“In terms of raw power? Maybe if she applied herself. But she uses her power to raise chickens. Because that's what she loves. And the necromancer loved her very much.”

Aida’s puzzlement is focused on another thing. “So chickens aren't bugs, but because she can talk to chickens she can figure out if people can talk to bugs?”

This gets Rita to pat the bomb on the head. “That’s pretty much it.”

“That’s… not a bad idea,” Adrian agrees. “It shouldn’t be too hard to convince her to come with us, could it?”

“It should be fine,” says Rita. “She's a very earnest girl. Besides, there's going to be a lot of people gathered, it's your best chance at scoping their leader out. But like I said, don't jump to conclusions. Just focus your investigations on the people holding the power. Alternatively, you could assist your Russian friends. If they really are investigating the whole ordeal as they claimed, they're probably going after the documents that were seized.”

Adrian has a problem, there. “I think the blue one hates me.”

“What makes you say that?” All Rita gets for her question is a shrug. The mysteries of Slavic affection levels can be deciphered another time, apparently.

Aida has her own objection to this plan. “But they’re doing war stuff, right? I don’t wanna. Bugs are easier.”

“It’s only war stuff if they get caught,” Rita says. “They were supposedly after the bugs, remember? It’s two good leads, I figure. Whichever you wanna approach. Or you could do neither and just lay in bed all day.”

Were Altina up, perhaps she would vote for the lazy plan. Instead, Adrian takes charge. “You said you might be going to that meeting anyway, right? Why don't you take Kuku there and get back to us on if she picks out anyone?”

Rita’s troubles are many, it turns out. “I was afraid you'd say that. We don't really see eye to eye these days.”

The thought of Kuku not getting along with anyone is something that Adrian is confused by. “Why?”

“I said some things that I am not particularly proud of,” Rita admits. “She didn't take those very kindly.”

“Is it because chickens are evil?” Aida asks. “That's what Altina said. Though the chickens didn't seem very evil.”

Rita looks down. “She's such a nice girl, but… I broke her.”

Adrian and Aida are both confused, though the bomb is the first to try and puzzle things out. “But we just got chickens from her. She didn’t seem broke.”
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“Look, can we not dwell on these things?” Rita asks, the unease clear on her face. “Those were horrible, awful times for everyone involved. It's very hard to explain, okay? When your memory is not fragmented, a lot of unpleasant things can come back to haunt you.”

“I don't really get it." Aida scratches her head. “But if we have to pick, I say Kuku! The war thing is about the bug papers, right? Those didn't even make sense. I bet half of those words were made up.”

Rita refuses to explain any further, and so talk diverts to plans of how dolls should go about their day – ultimately, it’s decided that the group will split up to let Aida and Kuku handle checking out town meetings, while Adrian investigates what the Russians are up to with their sneaking missions. That’s how the team departs the bar, with a still-asleep Altina slung over Adrian’s shoulder and Aida merrily skipping ahead to claim the chickenmancer’s companionship for the day ahead.

The trek outside is uneventful, and the team split occurs at Kuku’s place as Aida braves the chicken farm all on her own. “Kukuuuuuu!” she shouts as she approaches, her voice mingling with the chicken bickering in the background; a figure amidst the mob of birds perks up at the bomb’s call. As was the case last time, a brief noise from her is enough to have the chickens come to a full stop. Aida waves at the figure, unable to make up her mind between a sideways 'hi' and a back and forth 'come here', but the meaning is carried across well enough and said figure menacingly approaches, carrying entirely too many blades to be healthy for anyone she bumps into. Fortunately, it’s just Kuku.

“Haaah. How can I help you thish time?” The lisping girl is ever ready to please.

“Uh…” Here it becomes clear that leaving Aida unsupervised was something of a mistake. “Adrian said we should go watch that bug talk thing together! 'Cause you can tell who can talk to bugs at the bug talk.”

“Uhhh.” Kuku is likewise puzzled. “I don't undershtand. A bug talk?”

“A bug talk!” Aida confirms. “The com... uh... committee is having one, 'cause of all the bugs!”

“Haaah.” This, at least, Kuku gets. “There'sh a meeting then. You want to go?”

“Uh-huh! If we go to the meeting we might figure out who can talk to bugs!” Despite Aida’s enthusiasm, Kuku tilts her head. She does not seem to follow the bug-talking bit of this conversation, forcing the bomb to continue trying to explain. “Y'know. Like you talk to chickens! That's why you gotta come too! 'Cause you can tell if they might be able to talk to bugs.”

“Uhhh…” It takes a bit, but the metaphorical lightbulb eventually goes off over Kuku’s head. “Doesh thish mean you want to shee who hash a lot of that dark energy thingy like me?”

“Yeah!” says Aida. “Like that! If they're like that, they might talk to bugs!”

“I don't really get it,” Kuku admits, and so the lightbulb flickers before burning bright again. “But I can help you! Ish thish really okay, though?”

“Adrian said it was okay. So it's fine! Besides, it's for blowing up bugs. That's gotta be okay.”

“Haaah.” Kuku finds bomb logic impeccable. “Okay then. It'sh going to be like a date. I'm gonna get changed.”

“Like a date?” Now it’s Aida’s turn to not follow.

Kuku simply removes her leather apron filled with fresh stains of blood and leaves it on her desk. She then reaches for another leather apron that has older, dried blood stains instead, putting it on. “Yesh. I'm ready now.” Her fashion sense is unmatched.

Aida disregards whatever a date is, as it's probably unimportant anyway. “Okay! The radio said it was at the... the clinic! At one! Let's go!”

Kuku offers her hand. “Let'sh.”

And that’s how the two little girls go skipping off, hand-in-hand, to be totally inconspicuous and not draw any attention whatsoever while they investigate things. The skipping is largely uneventful, and upon reaching the stone paths of downtown Gravelville, they catch sight of a few stragglers here and there, all seemingly converging to a single location. Kuku takes the lead then, guiding Aida onward to their destination. The burnt remains of the manor are clearly visible as they approach the hill, with even the tall grass mostly eradicated, leaving only terribly dry remnants that not even the bugs could probably recover from. Kuku pauses to look at it for a moment, blinking for what was possibly the first time any member of the A-Team could recall, while Aida hums idly and happily at the sight, for dead bugs are good bugs, and that fake meat sand tasted terrible anyway.

Soon Kuku leads Aida onward yet again, their destination at the other edge of town. Groups gather in the clinic’s direction as the stone roads convert into dirt again, and soon music makes itself heard even from a distance, its melody extremely erratic and the instruments what one would expect from a big ol’ band, with plenty of brass to go around. Soon the source of the awful music is discovered to come from a makeshift wooden stage set atop a derelict bus chassis parked in front of a large concrete clinic, red crosses painted on its corners and surrounded by a short stone fence. A pickup truck eats up space in the middle of the road and is surrounded by a crowd of locals ‘enjoying’ the music and waiting for the actual main event to get going.

Positioned on the opposite side of the building and the band, on the other side of the road, is a white tent, with a number of people seated there – most relevantly to Aida are Lao Yue, Eddy, Lola, and Carla, with a familiar pair of Chinese children standing guard just outside the tent.

“Is that, like… the talking truck?” Aida asks, pointing at the vehicle most of the crowd has gathered around. “Is that why everyone's all around it?

“That'sh where she makesh her shpeechesh,” Kuku confirms. “Why she doeshn't jusht ushe the shtage I'll never know.”

“I was right, it is the talking truck!” Aida looks quite satisfied with her deduction.

“Sho it ish. Do you wanna take a... uhhh.” Kuku carefully veers past saying ‘seat’ or ‘sit’ with her speech impediment in mind. “Do you want to wait in the tent?”

“Sure!” Aida says, heedless of narrowly-avoided verbal pitfalls. “No one's talking yet anyway.”

“You can hear it from there anywaysh. It'sh ho-kay.”

“Oh, that's nice! We don't have to get all stuck in the crowd. Why's everyone all around the talking truck then?”

“They probably want to be closhe to throw shomething at her if she shays shomething bad.”

“Ohhh.” Aida looks to be in thought over this for a second, before shaking her head. “No. Adrian said not to blow anything up. Let's go!”

Kuku takes Aida’s hand again, and so chickenmancer and bomb approach the tent, unbothered by Chinese glares. The spy children don’t make any attempt to stop the duo from entering, however, and so the two find the place to be somewhat crowded, yet still with plenty of seats left close to those they’re acquainted with. Both Carla on her lonesome and the trio of Lola, Lao Yue and Eddy wave, and waves are received in kind even as Aida opts to sit with the three, because more friends is more fun.
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“Where is Adrian?” Lola asks, as Kuku and Aida settle in. “Not that I care.”

Eddy’s more curious about the two handholders. “Why did you bring Kuku, or is it the other way around?”

“It'sh a date,” Kuku says, and that’s that.

“Adrian is…” Aida stops as quickly as she starts, remembering that the muscle is doing war stuff that people are apparently not supposed to know about. “Looking for things to punch somewhere else! And Kuku's gonna find the bug-talkers. And have a date! Whatever a date is.”

There’s an “Oh,” from Lola, and Eddy just scratches her head before refocusing on Yue, who’s now pointing at the crowd. There’s a commotion brewing as the mob parts, giving way for the Colonel and two others to climb the back of the pickup truck. The band falls silent, and the mob reassembles itself to completely surround the truck once more, restlessly waiting for the purpose of this meeting to be revealed as the Colonel pulls out a microphone.

“Good afternoon to everyone,” she says, voice carrying clearly through the air. There’s silence. “I said, good afternoon!”

“Good afternoon!” a portion of the crowd responds.

“Ah, so you're awake now. Great.” Now that she’s sure she’s being heard, business begins. “My people, it has come to our knowledge that the plague has returned to harm us once more. In a single day we deployed our scorches and unfortunately had to burn down the manor of our esteemed mayoress. May she be in good health, wherever she is... and the chapel burned too. Not that anyone cares." There's chuckling in the crowd. Also from Lao Yue, after Eddy translates that bit for her.
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“We will be conducting searches again, much like we did back then, during the purge. And much like we did back then, we will also be taking your valuable information. If you have any info that can lead to the death of the person responsible, you are to report it to any of our officers immediately. Of course, regardless of whether you provide us with info or not, we shall be conducting our own investigation. Though that should be obvious. So don't bother trying to incriminate your neighbor just because she has her radio on early in the morning when you're trying to sleep. If your leads are not fruitful, you will be held accountable." There's more chuckling until the last bit about accountability.

“Needless to say, we will be performing searches in residences. So be prepared to receive visitors at any time. Businesses will also be subjected to that, although it should not interrupt any of your work. Unless your employees are all insects, that is. I will remind you all that these insects are extremely dangerous and they will attempt to burrow inside your head to consume your brain and lay their eggs there. If you ingest water contaminated with eggs, they can also burst from your stomach. If someone is behaving oddly, being overly aggressive and you confirm that there is, indeed, a large hole behind their necks, they are surely under the influence of the bugs. Do not hesitate to report them. We beg that you do not take action by yourselves unless you have the proper authority as a member of the Committee or an appointed militia. Run, if you must. Now, let me talk about something that may interest you. Do you wanna hear it?"

The crowd obediently responds in the affirmative, but the Colonel points towards the tent. “Ah, the people over there don't wanna hear it.”

There’s assorted agreements with various degrees of enthusiasm, from Kuku’s cheery “Yesh!” to Eddy’s exasperated “Yes, goddammit,” to Carla's “Just say it, you mong!”
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Yay Storytime!

I see your 1995 Ass Slapper and respond with a 2020 Ass Slapper.
Check out Girl Genius for some examples of constructs built or modified for specific purposes.
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“Fine, fine,” says the Colonel. “Wouldn't you know? I've suffered my fifth assassination attempt. Emphasis on attempt of course.”

“Here we go,” mutters Niu Jiao, the talkative half of the tiny Chinese spy duo already bracing for bullshit.

“I could understand if it was one of our locals, although I'm not sure if anyone really thinks my term is being as bad as the mayoress's,” continues the Colonel. “But the fellow we captured is not local at all. Of course, it's not a Chinese fellow either, if you were wondering. It's one of the European fellows, it seems. The tough guy is under custody for now, but oh boy did he flail like a bitch. I personally gave him a thrashing.”

“Fucking liar,” is Jiao’s retort, unheard.

“Apparently this person did not want the Committee to investigate the objects that have been falling just outside of town,” says the Colonel, thoroughly intent on finishing her speech. “Whether it's pieces of the space station, space debris or whathaveyou, I can assure you that they don't want us to have it. Unfortunately for them, it's a bit late for that. This subject is not a priority, of course. So we'll be handing everything over to our good friends in China. But hey! Maybe you'll get to see an execution this week!”

There's cheer and excitement now at such an entertaining prospect. However, with a cry of “Electricity!" there’s plenty of voices that prove to still be unhappy.

“Yes, yes, I know there have been some power outages here and there in some parts of town,” says the Colonel. “This is something of a problem with maintenance of the power plant, and we'll have to solve this in the long run with how things are going with the bugs and whatnot.” The booing does little to discourage her. “Eh, eh, eh. Come on now. We're doing everything we can to ensure you have lights on during the night. Especially now, we can't have bugs crawling into our beds at night!"
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"As a preventive measure, we'll be distributing candles and some gas lamps at the end of this meeting.” Yet more booing actually seems to strike a nerve with the Colonel this time. “Hey! I'm going there, to the power plant, PERSONALLY, and I WILL grab the one responsible by the ear, okay?!” Such decisive words serve to calm the mob a bit, at least, which leaves the speech to end with an announcement she'd taking questions.

The band gets back to it, just as awful as before, and Carla cringes at the sound with a “Good god,” before getting up and fleeing the scene.

Aida looks like she didn't really get a lot out of anything that was said. Not that it's very surprising. She hops up from her chair and turns to Kuku. "So are there any bug-talkers?"

“Uhhh. I dunno,” says the chickenmancer. She does have something helpful to report, though. “It'sh really odd though. I didn't know you could have two shoulsh at onshce. There'sh shome people in the crowd with tiny lightsh in their headsh. Do bugsh have shoulsh?”

Eddy’s on-the-fly translation of this gets Yue to respond with “[They could certainly emit energy if they were made by a necromancer.]”

“Ohhhh,” is all Kuku can say to that.

“Well I have no idea, so let's go with that!” Aida says. “That means there's people with bugs here!” She’s immediately shushed by Eddy (“Shhhh, lower your tone.”) and Lola (“Are you trying to start a riot or something? You’re lucky this band is drowning the air with this noise.”) but they don’t manage to quell her concern about this matter.

“I thought you wanted the big onesh though,” says Kuku.

“But all the bugs are bad bugs,” Aida says, quietly. “Even the small ones.”

“There'sh big people though,” Kuku points out. “The Colonel hash a kindaaa... Uhhh, a little big light. Like mine.”

Lola is the first to ask after the implications, here. “... Are you saying the Colonel controls the bugs?"
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“We dunno,” Aida says with a shrug at Lola. “Kuku only talks to chickens. Maybe the Colonel talks to plants. Or cats!”

“[Don't be ridiculous,]” Yue chides. “[It's just that they have similar powers.]”

“Or so we hope,” Eddy adds. “If she was controlling the bugs to boost her career or something stupid like that... It's so like her.”

“There'sh alsho one in the band,” Kuku helpfully says. “Another near the Colonel and one more hanging out in the crowd. They have big lightsh.”

“...That many?” Eddy asks, frowning. “Shit. So that's what you came here for?”

“If they have bigger lights, they're probably more important." Aida nods, maybe agreeing with herself or maybe confirming what Eddy asked.

“[Good job,]” Yue says. “[If you came up with this, you really are worth all the trouble.]” Such a response gets nothing but surprise from her subordinates (“…That's high praise in my book,” from Eddy, and a gasp of “She can praise people?” from Lola).

“We got praised!” Aida gleefully says. “I'll have to tell Adrian her plan was good!” She takes a peek out of the tent into the throng of people. “Where's the big lights? We gotta find out if it's okay to blow them up.”

“Don't do anything rash,” Eddy warns, as Kuku points out the infested people in question. “Besides, shouldn't you regroup?"

“... Okay,” Lola says, studying whoever Kuku points out. “So a band member, a worker at the water treatment facility and a member of the Committee are infested. And potentially the Colonel.”

“Well, we know who's got a big light,” says Aida. “That's good for now. Adrian wouldn't let me blow them up, so... I guess that's that?”

“No, the Colonel doeshn't have two lightsh,” Kuku says, dashing suspicion of the town’s leadership. “And her lightsh ish not the shame shize ash the othersh.” She sounds quite confident in her assessment of necromantic energies.

Eddy has help to offer. “If it's any consolation, I can find out who exactly they are and where they live. You can investigate later. Although you do know where all of them work.”

“Thanks!” Aida gives Eddy a bright and cheery smile, before turning back to Kuku. “Are we supposed to do anything else for a date? I still dunno what that is.”

Kuku ponders this. “We already held handsh, sho it'sh ho-kay.”

“Is it just holding hands? That's pretty easy! We can do that on the way back too." Aida offers out her hand, and Kuku takes it with a lisping little cheer (“Yey.”) At this point, Aida’s ready to go, and so lets Kuku lead her away. As they leave while the event was still going, however, the way back feels much more empty. It’s already late afternoon when they reach the farm.

“Thish ish where we part waysh,” says Kuku, before giving Aida a hug.

“Uh-huh! I gotta go wait at Rita's!” Aida's not entirely sure why she's being hugged, but hugs are hugs, so she offers one back happily. “We can have another date next time we come to get chickens!”

“Shure,” Kuku agrees. “It wash fun. Kinda weird with looking at people'sh shoulsh. But shtill. I think you're shupposhed to kish at the end of a date but my mouth ish kinda grosh. Sho bye!”

“Oh. That's easy!" Aida hops up just far enough to plant a peck on Kuku's cheek. That's how you kiss people, after all. “Bye-bye! Have fun talking with chickens!” Goodbyes exchanged, she's dashing off before Kuku can have a chance to respond…

...and so we rewind to see what the rest of the A-Team was up to, shifting from bomb to muscle as, during all this, Adrian has her own business to be handling, Altina still casually perched on her shoulder and snoozing the day away.

Much like Aida's, Adrian’s walk is uneventful, though she does get weird glares and looks from people who don't quite understand why she’s going in the opposite direction of the gathering. She can definitely overhear girls discussing whether or not they are late or if it already ended. Adrian doesn’t give a shit, pressing on – apparently the office that is her target is on the other edge of town, so she passes by quite a few people who are going to the meeting on her way there. When she’s out of the stone road and into the dirt that is characteristic of this place's outskirts and slums, the place is now devoid of all life -and- unlife other than her and her dozing passenger.

Soon enough she spots her target in the distance; a large two-story concrete building with very few discerning features. It looks as uninspired and lazily built as she’d imagined. The surroundings are mostly sand, dirt and quite a few dry bushes and dead trees… but her sharp eyes take note of how one such display of greenery (or in this case, dry and dead beige to orangery) contains a large shadow within it, with tire tracks coming out of concealment as well. Further out are shambling, dumb zombies on patrol around the building – the guards are rather shortsighted due to their shoddy construction, so Adrian avoids them well enough as she investigates the tracks, finding a familiar jeep hidden among the large bushes and dead trees. The engine’s off, but there’s someone sitting in the driver seat – a girl wearing a red beret. Adrian’s attempt to sneak up on her promptly results in Vulovic spinning around in her seat, face frozen in cold fury as she raises a pistol and then abruptly feels annoyed when she sees it’s only the mightiest muscle in all the realm.

“...This is not the time to be playing games,” she chides, lowering her gun.
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Unperturbed by having a gun pointed at her face, Adrian says “Who said I was here to play, unless that was an offer?”

Such cheek only serves to puzzle Vulovic. “Are you still drunk somehow?”

“Nope, but I am wondering what you're looking for here.”

“The files they took,” Vulovic says, and then voices a complaint with “Why didn't YOU take them, by the way?”

“Because we were worried about the girls having bugs burst out of their stomach.” Adrian is making a conscious effort to keep her voice low. “How the hell were we supposed to know they'd swoop in and take everything?”

“Have you never seen this Committee operating?”

“Considering we came in two days ago, yes, all the time,” Adrian says, straight-faced.

“Well, I have not,” Vulovic says, quite seriously. “Entry was child's play, but she's taking her sweet time. I'm getting worried by the minute. The brunt of their forces is supposed to be away, though. Unless the radio host is full of shit.”

“I was being sarcastic,” Adrian grumbles, “no I don't know shit about how things work. So you think you're friend's in trouble in there?"

“... That is within the realm of possibility, yes,” Vulovic says, somewhat sheepishly. “But look. No alarm sounded, the patrols haven't even budged away from their routes… I'm tempted to go in, but this sort of op just becomes more complicated with more people.”

“So you're just gonna sit here.” Adrian already sounds bored with the idea.

“Your disposition indicates you'd rather have me go in, guns blazing, signing the treaty off and getting myself thrown into the gulag for treason,” Vulovic says.

“If I was gonna do that, I'd have tossed your jeep through the wall already.” No idle boast, considering what Adrian’s already done the last few days.

“... As much as I like that idea, it's a no go,” says the Slav. “And I need the jeep.”
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Altina has spent this entire time perched, snoozing, on Adrian's shoulder, because absinthe is a hell of a drink. The fact that she only starts awake now isn't really that surprising, considering. “Mwhat- jeeps- what's-”

“Since I haven't done it yet,” says Adrian, before her cargo awakes, “it means I'm not inclined to go guns blazing, at least not ye-" She puts a hand over Altina's mouth when the smaller girl starts making noise. “Keep it down, we're being sneaky here.”

There’s rapidfire owlish blinking from the bird as she looks around, her situation settling in somewhat. “Mmf? Mmf. Mm-hm.” She offers a thumbs-up.

Adrian cautiously lowers the hand. “The assholes in charge nabbed the papers on the bugs so we're gonna help'em sneak in and see what's on'em.”

Whatever Vulovic’s opinion on an albino’s confused presence is, she keeps it to herself. “I'm just surprised you came. What exactly do you gain from this?”

“I wanna know where the bugs are comin' from and all that and then squash what's causin' it?” Adrian notices how Altina is really missing the plot here, head swiveling from Vulovic to Adrian every time one of them speaks, and thus soothes the bird with a pat on the head, causing her to happily preen.

“Fair enough,” says Vulovic. “But before we do something about all this… You do realize that if an alarm is raised or something like that we're going to be forced to eliminate every single witness before any officers arrive, right? Or you can kiss your peaceful life in this town goodbye.”

Adrian shrugs. “I get an early dinner then.”

There’s a prolonged stare from Vulovic at this statement. “... So you'd openly go to war with this Committee?”

“I'll just avoid that by not fucking up.” Adrian’s confidence is unshakable.

“You scare me,” Vulovic admits. “I do not want to meet you on the battlefield."
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Adrian gives Vulovic a mischievous grin, while such a mention of possible future violence gets Altina’s head popping right up, eyes overly wide, her own manic grin rather less wholesome. “You're very smart, then,” says the bird.

Vulovic makes a dismissive gesture. “Please. Do not.” She disembarks, and when questioned on how her partner infiltrated the building, she points at an isolated section of the office still under construction. “There's an exposed sewage drain in that one part of the building.” Adrian figures this is an easy enough approach, which still doesn’t stop Vulovic from giving advice. “If it comes to the worst scenario, I'll try to come in with the jeep. Otherwise, rendezvous is right here. Do you understand?” Receiving affirmation, she continues, “Kill if you must, but do not make a commotion.”

That last sentence is given to Adrian’s back, as the muscle grows tired of waiting and just takes off with Altina still happily perched on her shoulder. Luckily for them, there are no patrols on the back of the building where they’re headed. There are, however, a few guerrillas with rifles positioned on the few balconies of the second floor. By sticking close to the walls, Adrian is able to sneak in flawlessly.

From up close, it's more like the construction process was canceled rather than interrupted. There are no materials, tools or machinery to be seen, only the derelict concrete, plywood and exposed metal of the pillars. From there, it’s easy to discover the drain that was mentioned through smell alone – frankly, it reeks. The grates lead into a very large pipe in the ground that the dolls could easily fit into if they crawled, so they do, Adrian going first and stifling any complaints she might have. Altina also has some severe reservations, what with the smell, but on the other hand - adventure! With Adrian! So she ends up crawling after the meat miracle into filth. At least there's a nice view ahead of her.

There are quite a few intersections in the pipeline, but most are sealed by bars or go into very small pipes that neither girl could possibly fit into. Eventually, braving how the smell grows yet fouler the deeper they go, they find a hole in the tunnels that drops into a place with actual standing room. Despite Adrian being anxious to properly get upright, she pauses to listen; nothing relevant other than dripping from the pipeline into the floor can be heard. Said floor looks quite gross even from up high, whatever it’s comprised of a disgusting mystery. Yet let none say Adrian isn’t made of stern stuff, as she merely shrugs before going down; her descent creates a slight splash, sending gross shit flying around and causing her to make a face as she tries to not gag or otherwise make all the disgusted noises possible. Instead, she prepares to catch the bird above her, ever chivalrous.

Altina has her smile drawn thin and tight as she looks down after Adrian, and what she's standing in, but after a few moments to steel herself, she hops on down and is promptly swept up in waiting arms before she can be soaked in anything nasty. So carried, she whispers a “My hero~” into Adrian's ear, earning herself a smile as they look around. They’re in the building’s basement… probably. The walls are of dirt and soil and, from the looks of it, the place was still being excavated. There's a single lightbulb hanging lazily from the ceiling right in the center, providing the only light there. Further searching shows nothing in the way of ladders or anything even remotely resembling a way out on the walls. Along the ceiling, however, is a square composed of wooden boards, most likely the entrance, even if it lacks a rope or anything else to properly open it. Considering Adrian’s size, however, reaching it is no problem, and so the muscle carefully lifts Altina up even as her doglike ears faintly catch chatter from on high, though not directly above them.
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“Really loud... Heheheh. Y-y-you could tell they were k-kissing in t-there,” says one.

“G-g-gross...” another responds. From the voices, they’re either mentally challenged or the lowest common denominator legion guerrillas. If the Russians' description of dolls below servant level was anything to go by, one would imagine they’d have less in the way of personality.

Altina pushes the square up just enough to covertly peek through, glancing this way and that to see a dark, cramped room with no guards visible. There is, however, a little bit of light coming from under a door on the edge of the room, the chatter filtering through from the other side. Satisfied that the coast is clear for the moment, Altina pulls herself up quietly into what appears to be a janitor’s closet – why there’s a hole in the floor leading to a cave, nobody will ever know.

“Heheheh…” More brain-damaged giggling comes through the door. “B-b-b-but doesn't that make you c-curious?” There’s a disgusted noise from her conversational partner, and then footsteps. With a baffled “H-hey, where you goin'…” does the poor, foolish girl shuffle after her partner, leaving proper-thinking dolls in peace as Adrian helps herself up into the closet as well.

With some muscly investigations revealing the coast to be clear, the two dolls exit into a real long corridor. In one direction is an EXIT sign followed by an arrow confirming that, indeed, the exit is in that direction, while to the other side are two sets of double doors on the opposite wall to the closet, along with a set of stairs at the end of the corridor. Signs label them as the Brig and Armory, which is rather questionable positioning on the part of the building’s owners even if there’s quite some room between them, but oh well.

Adrian creeps along, every step shadowed by Altina, as they listen in – there’s faint whispering from the brig, so the muscle cracks the door open just a touch.
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“...You lost?” asks a deep, rumbling voice from within. “Maybe I can help.”

When Adrian peeks in, she spies no guards, only an enormous, barred cage with an extraordinary number of locks on it. Inside is a very large, muscular figure, chained and bound to the cage, complete with a straightjacket. Its face is covered by a large mechanical mask, and its eyes gleam light red. Its eyes make contact almost immediately with Adrian’s, as if it were watching her from even before she entered.

“Nah,” Adrian quietly responds, and then shuts the door again.

“Suit yourself, we’ll meet later,” says the prisoner in the face of this dismissal, to which Adrian can only shrug.

“Ooh,” Altina coos once all’s said and done. “She has red eyes, too. I like her already.”

“Let’s continue on,” Adrian says, deciding not to question how quickly Altina assumed someone so massive is a girl when there wasn’t any actual indicator of gender, before she starts creeping towards the stairs.

“I suppose we'll meet her later, like she said. Maybe. Continuing~” Thus does the birb follow, having mentally associated muscly bodies with all that was feminine through the power of overdosing on Adrian’s presence.

Footsteps can be heard upstairs, which settle after coming to a full stop, leaving the dolls beneath to freeze as well. With a few light steps and keeping her sights up, Adrian risks checking ahead, and spies a guard leaning against the railing on the stairs, chilling with her back turned to the stealthy duo and unlikely to actually do her job anytime soon. Such lax behavior on the job swiftly results in Adrian climbing the stairs behind her and promptly smashing her face in with one mighty hand – it’s amazingly easy to do so, the girl’s movements lethargic and extremely slow, her reaction seemingly non-existent at the speed a muscle operates at.

Adrian quickly drags her down the stairs and lays her face down as though she just had a nasty tumble and that there clearly wasn’t anything untoward to see there. She still spasms and trembles very slightly, but there’s fortunately no noise by dint of no longer having much of a face to make said noise with. Satisfied with her totally nonlethal takedown, the muscle sneaks back up, pursued by her albino tagalong, faint laughter coming from the brig as they do so. It’s ignored in favor of actually focusing on what the two came here to accomplish, however.

Their options are more broad now: two corridors available, one straight ahead and another to their left, in addition to a few doors near the windows to the outside going directly into the balcony, where guards can clearly be seen watching out into the distance. Along the inner wall are quite a few labeled rooms, though Adrian only makes out one saying REST before footsteps from the left corridor interrupt her – so do the pair hurriedly retreat back downstairs before a patrol can catch them. However, once more they find the combination of stairs and lazy guards to be very lethal, and after this unlucky goon leans against the railing much like her faceless friend, she soon joins the other twitching girl in lacking anything resembling a face.

As hiding the latest body is resolved, Adrian nods for Altina to investigate the REST room – red eyes peek into another cramped room with a table and couch, the former featuring a genuine, honest-to-god coffee maker while the latter is occupied by a girl snoring grossly, mouth wide open and saliva bubbling inside. Given that BOTECO RITA decidedly doesn’t have coffee on the menu, the pair’s course of action is terribly clear – a poor snoring face is abruptly smashed in by Adrian as Altina unplugs the coffee pot and hustles away with it, clutching it close to her chest. There’s no justifying this as a staircase accident, that’s for sure.
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From the lack of footsteps on this floor it’s easy for the pair to figure that there are no guards left patrolling the corridors directly. It probably won’t take long for the guards on the balcony to realize the lack of their buddies walking around inside being a problem, so the dolls pick up their pace accordingly. The next door the dolls break into is labeled "COL." Peeking in reveals a cramped office with papers scattered around everywhere and the desk’s drawers yanked open. In one of the corners, right behind the desk, is a small silhouette leaning against what appears to be a metal box. Considering the silhouette wears a blue beret, it’s fairly easy to figure out who’s up to no good.

Adrian sneaks in while Buinov has her ear on the box, listening intently as she tries to crack the safe. While the muscle patiently waits for her to finish, Buinov has no luck in this regard – it’s likely what was keeping her long enough for Vulovic to grow concerned.

After growing bored, Adrian sneaks a bit closer and whispers a greeting of “Keep quiet.”

If she was expecting Buinov to be startled, there’s no such luck. “Just give me a hand already. I can hear a yeti like you coming from a mile away.”

Adrian considers how best to assist the irritated Russian, and opts to just grab the safe – given how shoddily embedded it is in the wall, it slides right out into her swole grip. “I’ll just take this.”

“...Really,” says Buinov. She’s in no place to complain, though. “Whatever. We’re leaving.”

“Quieter than breaking it open here,” Adrian says, following Buinov out.

“...I didn’t expect it to be loose,” the Slav admits. “You carry that thing.”

Adrian gladly does as Buinov hustles on out, Altina falling in behind the muscle and still clutching her caffeine-delivering prize close. There is a pause for some Russian disgust when Buinov sees the bodies, however. “...Goddamnit, I was going to S-rank it.”

“And your friend said this wasn't a game,” Adrian comments, unashamed.

“Don't care, got coffee,” Altina says, unburdened by petty morality regarding legions. As long as they can still twitch, it’s not worth worrying about.

With an “Oh, please,” Buinov ducks into the closet where this all started, leaping down into the cave and pursued by her unwanted helpers. “...Hopefully the safe fits into the pipe,” she says, climbing up into it. Adrian pursues, demonstrating her ultimate muscle by just hoisting herself up one-handed, while Altina has a bit of trouble getting herself in there with her coffeemaker, and then awkwardly scoots along, clutching it close to herself to protect it from anything gross they crawl across along the way. It all works out well enough, and, once again, there’s at least a nice view ahead of her.

They all make it out of the pipe network just fine, and Buinov is altogether too happy to exit at speed with a “Whew, now to get the fuck outta here.” The exit goes smoothly, and the trio makes it to a rather pissed-looking Vulovic without incident.

“.. Where the hell are the papers?” asks the Red Slav.

“In the safe,” Adrian says, still carrying it with ease. “Your friend couldn't crack it.”

Vulovic turns to her blue partner. “... Is that why you took forever?”

“No comment,” Buinov says, climbing into the passenger seat. “Start the engine already.”

Letting that slide, Vulovic refocuses on non-Slavic dolls as she hops into the driver’s seat. “...You’re coming too, right?”

So invited, Adrian boards the vehicle, and Altina hops in to park herself right next to the muscle miracle. “Victory is ours, so let us be off.”

Vulovic carefully makes an exit, turning off into the desert. “I have no idea where they'll be coming back from, so we're taking the scenic route.” Wisdom, as alarms start blaring in the distance while they speed away into the sand. “...Wait, already?”

“Bullshit,” Buinov complains, almost certainly blaming her helpers for this internally.

“Just keep going,” says Adrian, so they do.

Circling around the edge of town goes smoothly, though there’s some noise as Adrian smashes the safe open with her bare hands and retrieves the papers before promptly tossing the dead weight overboard. After a detour downtown to clear the trail the jeep leaves in the sand, the ride back to the bar continues to be uneventful, even if Vulovic drives tensed up like someone shoved a finger up her ass, constantly checking for anybody who could be tailing the group. When nothing unfortunate happens, the team goes offroad just before reaching the bar, parking in the desert, and so Vulovic turns to her passengers. “Get off.”

“There’s gratitude for you,” Adrian says, before getting out of the vehicle anyway. When Vulovic is briefly confused by this answer (“...what.”) Adrian just waves it off with an “I’m joking.”

Vulovic gets out alongside her partner and goes around the jeep, pulling out a brown sheet from the back. Adrian's bemusement at why they're covering the car is promptly alleviated with an explanation of “I'm just going to camouflage the jeep. I learned my lesson last time. Let's say leaving it parked in front of the bar was a bad move.”

“Allow me to get out first, at least!” Altina says, being a real slowpoke about actually hopping out until her hand was forced in this manner. She exits, still clutching her prize of a coffee maker close, and, when Adrian asks to have it, she promptly relinquishes it to the muscle’s grip with a cheerful “Oh, well, since you asked so nicely.”

As Adrian tries out the coffee that miraculously didn’t spill at all on the entire journey out of the building, Buinov views their now-covered vehicle’s hiding spot with satisfaction, then ribs at her partner with a “Just don’t forget where you parked it.”

“Let it go, it only happened once,” Vulovic retorts, which doesn’t stop her from locking arms with Buinov as the two venture out towards the bar, content in their victory.

They leave in peace as Altina cocks both her head and an eyebrow, watching Adrian cautiously consume coffee in a fashion that actually doesn’t result in the muscle guzzling down half the pot in one go. “Is it good for you?”

“It’s alright,” Adrian decides, which is a bit of a letdown in Altina’s mind after the effort (and maiming) went through to retrieve it.

“Ah. Well, we deserve this more than they did, so whatever.”

“You know the Russians would mix it with their vodka,” Adrian comments.

This definitely piques the bird’s interest. “...An interesting prospect!”

Adrian puts an arm around Altina, and with a cheerful "Let's head in before they drink it all," they set off to the bar for another pleasant afternoon after a job well done. Their approach coincides with Aida’s return, amazingly enough. How? Who knows. Apparently Aida doesn't walk very fast and Buinov can't crack a safe to save her life. It's an interesting sight, to say the least, as one is coming from the road and the other group is coming from the goddamn desert.

So ends Gravel: Session 6.
>“Look, can we not dwell on these things?” Rita asks, the unease clear on her face. “Those were horrible, awful times for everyone involved. It's very hard to explain, okay? When your memory is not fragmented, a lot of unpleasant things can come back to haunt you.”

Thankyou for reminding me of this.
I get the feeling the A-team isn't going to be welcome in town for much longer.
I wonder if that prisoner is the bug controller, or their missing Necromancer.
Thank you for storytiming this.
Something like a staple gun.
There's nothing wrong with Thanatos
I was also going to suggest a staple gun. The irregular curvature/shaping of the human body gets kind of messy for stitching unless you use something about as versatile as hands.
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Thanatos can serious pop off with some of the more broken Melee parts but... I kinda feel like that's more of an issue with Monofilament and Co. than anything. The Melee parts in general seem to just generally be the most efficient attack parts in the game outside of a Shotgun with Lullaby.
That's not true. Most parts are built with similar costs for their value and are balanced among themselves, what breaks them are the classes that use them.
Monofilament and Flamethrower are nearly the same thing, only swapping blast/melee and explosive/dismember. Do you think Flamethrower is broken?
The broken stuff is just any skill or part that permanently improves them beyond a +1. Super Strength, Lullaby, Gauntlet, Horn and Drama of Death are the problems and if you play without these, the parts are all fair.


>I kinda feel like that's more of an issue with Monofilament and Co. than anything

Drama of death requires a bit of team coordination but can break the game in half with the right weapons and it's been brought up in past threads how Instantaneous means your attack is much, much harder to counter compared to anyone else's for one single skill pick. There's also the fact that there's a skill that lets you just declare you hit and combos with another skill to be a "hit the location you want" and "Turn any melee attack you want into area." The latter two would be alright in theory except they're combined with what is already an effective and versatile arsenal and other attack types don't get as much unique to their attack type stuff.

>The Melee parts in general seem to just generally be the most efficient attack parts in the game outside of a Shotgun with Lullaby.
Melee just has a blatant favoritism of having access to an effective way to do everything, even long range attacks which is supposed to be shooting's shtick. As for shotgun+lullaby, it's good, but the problem is that it that's the peak damage guns can do. You can reach the 2 for 1 damage with Instrument of Evil + Lullaby on Bear Gun, Sniper Rifle, and AT Rifle, but only Sniper rifle won't come out worse for it due to its +1 that the other two lack. Especially Melee, but also unarmed have attacks that either meet that before modifiers or need only 1 skill to get parity (a skill that won't carry a downside like lullaby), then they have more things to pick up to make them even better.

>That's not true. Most parts are built with similar costs for their value and are balanced among themselves, what breaks them are the classes that use them.

Shooting requires lullaby to have a chance of matching melee,at a penalty, and blast has innate penalties in their T1 and T2 parts and the intent for Blast seems, on its face, to be "strong but can't be boosted in anyway."
>Shooting requires lullaby to have a chance of matching melee,at a penalty, and blast has innate penalties in their T1 and T2 parts and the intent for Blast seems, on its face, to be "strong but can't be boosted in anyway."

It doesn't. The weapons lose 1 or 2 damage or cost 1 or 2 more AP in exchange for more range. Unarmed and Melee losing 1 or 2 attacks in a turn due to this balances their damage out.

There's quite a bit that can be said still, but to start with, it's fine, if attacks can be boosted to be really strong with things like super strength, but the problem is the disparity in who gets what. Melee and Unarmed can get a +2 damage to pretty much every attack, which has a really nice consequence of making every single one of those parts hypothetically viable. The problem is shooting just gets lullaby which doesn't make half of its parts viable and blast is told to go fuck itself. Its also a problem of options.

Dismember: Melee rules the roost here. Rip and Tear makes unarmed a competitor but more in utility/durability rather than actual damage. Shooting attack has laser which is obscenely lackluster and blast gets nothing.

Explosive: Shotgun is here and it is good. Every blast attack also has this though almost no one uses grenade and molotov is a T1 but risky with a -1 on a chain attack and flamethrower is just molotov at T3 with no penalty, so they're not bad, also rocket launcher is alright but costly. Melee gets nailbat at T1 which seems weaker but SS+Gauntlet actually makes it more efficient than any other thing mentioned here. Unarmed gets nothing.

Area: Unarmed gets nothing. Shooting gets Machine gun which is pretty bad, and Undead Gun, which is pretty nice. Blast gets Dynamite which is also pretty nice and the only one that can inflict self damage. Area does have the thing where you have to have restraint with it to not ruin friendlies so your T3 attack part is situational. Then Melee gets calamity, which has a costly 2AP but considering melee has, on average, the highest damage output, it's likely beating the other options even before you consider that you can pop spikes/barbed wire to just nuke a zone without sacrificing a T3 for that niche.
I'm beginning to wonder just what Altina was before she woke up in the back of that truck

Chain: Blast does ok with flame/molotov but lack of +1 hurts on chains. Shooting's is shit because you need to take a -1 that applies to both attacks making it arguably worse than molotov since it's a T2. Meatsnake is really, really good and horn exists to be good but random. Bonespear's kinda eh but whatever. Melee meanwhile gets Lightsaber/Monofilament which breaks the game in half, Assassin's blade which is 1/round but not awful, and Lawnmower which wins over all the others for "How much damage you shit out if you hit every attack."

Move: Exclusive to Melee

Undefendable: Exclusive to melee and also on a dismembering melee attack that lets you just delete horrors without them being able to a damn thing at damage timing unless they negate dismember.

Stagger: Netgun's kinda poo and really situational, blast gets nothing, Electrigger and horn make GMs scream, and Ball and chain is electrigger except range 0-1 with calamity potential replacing horn potential. The stagger weapons can be made to do decent damage with Instrument of evil since it doesn't negate Stagger (which it really should).

In theory yes, but when melee has attacks that cover range 0-1 and also deal the same/more damage than shooting/blast in the same range band before super strength, range advantage is kind of a joke.
>In theory yes, but when melee has attacks that cover range 0-1 and also deal the same/more damage than shooting/blast in the same range band before super strength, range advantage is kind of a joke.
Melee's attacks with bigger range are few. You have African Throwing Knife which is basically a copy of Laser + stagger and Monofilament and Flying guillotine which are 4 or 2 damage. Let's say you have 12 AP versus an enemy in in Tartarus. A character with anti tank rifle can do 3 attacks for 15 damage, one with monofilament has to walk forward and gets around 10 attacks for 20 damage. But this 5 extra damage requires them to get closer to enemies and needs them to hit 7 extra rolls. That is a fair trade off.
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And now for the resumption of the Port storytime!
Picking up directly after: https://desuarchive.org/tg/thread/71958657/#72011763

When we last left the party, Port, Lily, and Tachi had just reunited with the rest of the group after having been dimensionally shunted (or something) into an impromptu detour.

Heads up: I'm putting these posts together in between other stuff so posting is going to be sporadic until I can actually sit down and focus.


>The elevator opens its doors... to a well-lit skyway, right as a furious Protoca storms by, holding Hope tight to her chest with one arm while dragging a despondent B33 with the other.
>"Protoca?!" Port scrambles to her feet. "Hope! Bee!" She catapults herself out through the door, tackling Protoca in a high-speed hug. "You're okay! You're all okay!"
>Tachi hapily follows, shuffling Lily out with her.
>Protoca stops, her glare shifting to Port. For a moment, she continues, and then her expression softens. "Yes. And you too... The tunnel... We found ourselves outside, on the next segment of skyway."
>B33 is chittering queries regarding Port's status and health in between reciting safety protocols.
>Hope seems as if she's just suffered whiplash.
>Tachi pats Hope on the head with a smile. "I'm happy nothing happened to you."
>Hope sinks down with the touch, humming. "I'm happy you all came back." She returned.
>Tachi nods, "It was scary."
>Port pulls herself off of Protoca, face bouncing wildly between relief and slowly subsiding panic. "There was- there was a pair of doors. I went up to see if I could hear anything behind them and when I turned around you were all gone. I thought you might have backed out onto the skyway but... the doorway vanished when I went out to check. It was just a hallway."
>She buries her face back in Protoca's shoulder, her ears drooping sharply. "I was so worried."

AT rifle does win out in that specific scenario if the enemy only requires 15 or less damage, and your numbers hold out if the tartarus target is a horror, but if it's a savant that doesn't have dismember negation, Monofilament could completely annihilate it in as little as 4 AP after getting in range. AT rifle also loses out if the combat continues on into round 2 and AT rifle can't shoot things that enter range 0 with it (which the enemy can easily do if they start in Limbo). Shooting attack's "range advantage" is kind of a joke when the most broken melee attack already covers 60% of the battlemap, can't shoot at range 0, and is an advantage that is usually already done with by the time round 2 swings around. It's not really a downside to have range 0-1 as opposed to 0-2 or 1-3 in round 2 if you're already in range 1 of the enemy in tartarus.
>Protoca stands somewhat rigigldy, before Port feels her awkwardly - gingerly - wrap her arms about her and pat her back. "...It's alright. It's alright... I..." She pauses, adjusting her phrasing, "...everyone's alright."
>Port pants for a moment, almost hyperventilating before she finally catches herself and calms down. "I'm so glad nothing happened to any of you. We- The three of us... found something. I'm not sure what. There were memories in one of the rooms we found, at least one from Cleoh. I don't know about the others..." She takes another steadying breath. "They were... hard memories. And I think they were related to the Tower. But I'm not sure how."
>She pulls back a little from Protoca and looks at the blank section of wall where the elevator door used to be. "I think we found some- some ghosts? They showed us through the maze we wandered into. I don't think Tachi or Lily could see them."
>Tachi shakes her head to confirm Ports suspicions.
>"... Did you learn anything...?" Protoca asks, trailing off uncertainly.
>Tachi shuffles uncomfortably. "They were memories of suffering."
>Port huffs, some of her frazzled expression falling into annoyance. "Probably, but there's so little context it's hard to say. At least one of the memories is from Cleoh, since it relates to Samantha. The others... I'm not sure. One of them kept repeating the name 'Mersi,' but I don't know why that would be important." She shrugs. "Another one wanted to tear everything down and end the world. 'If there is no future, the world should just end,' was the feeling I got from it."
>"The ghosts of the old workers are still here, too. They were the ones who helped me and Tachi find our way out. They were still at their computers when we found them."
>Protoca frowns pensively before sighing. "Then... our objective is still the same?"
>The clouds roil below, and Hope shivers with worry.
>And now for the resumption of the Port storytime!
>Picking up directly after: https://desuarchive.org/tg/thread/71958657/#72011763


http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/71958657/#p71980453 On sup/tg/
https://archive.4plebs.org/tg/thread/71958657/#71980453 On 4plebs.

If you want to read the whole story from the beginning all the threads with Port Storytime are archived on sup/tg/. Just search for the tag Nechronica on the sup/tg/ archive and scroll down to July 2019.
>Port nods. "It is to me. Unless you want to find a way to chat with Empyrean or Abbadon that doesn't end with us getting torn apart." She makes a face. "Though I'm still not sure if Abbadon is even interested in us."
>Tachi shrugs, "Continuing to the top would probably be best."

>The rest of the dolls' ascent up the skyway is uneventful. The glowing peak of the tower becomes more prominent with every step, its scale somehow becoming more real as the small prongs above grow larger and large. The endless blue of the sky around them transitions as the heavenly bodies rotate about the Earth.
>...As they grow closer, the green glow above resolves itself into a hazy emerald mist, beyond which a light shines.
>Port stares up at the top of the tower as she walks, her cameras humming quietly as they constantly scan and re-scan every inch of sky (while a spare keeps an eye on the path in front of her). "Roselia said something about the top of the tower, didn't she? I wonder if the mist and light has something to do with what she was talking about."
>"Maybe," Protoca says doubtfully.
>Tachi twists her head around, keeping watch for anything that might be sneaking up on them in the mist.
>The skyway stops. It is torn at the end, but it was meant to terminate here.
>However, it is bent. Rent. Melted. It is as if God lifted up a blazing sword, and ran the tower through.
>The remains of heavy cargo doors slump inward. Beyond, there is a wide tunnel leading into a large, open room filled with various metal cases. The mist swirls about the edges of the room, and everything is knocked aside. The entire room slants toward one end, where the floor has buckled.
>... and an enormous, ruined machine lays at rest, its figure barely recognizable as humanoid.
>The mist makes Protoca noticeably uncomfortable.
[Tachi succeeds a Perception Check]
[Port fails a Perception Check]
Coach had no lines in this chapter.
>Tachi freezes in place, staring a the pile of ruined machinery. Tears roll down her cheeks as she stares, she's afraid to get closer, unwilling to see the carnage. Memories flare in the back of her mind, momentary flashes of howling wind and thundering sound, exhilaration and triumph.
>Port catches Tachi's change in expression in the corner of one of her cameras. Her ears perk up, alert. "Tachi? What's wrong?"
>Likewise, Lily frets at Tachi's shoulder with a face of concern.
>Port notices Hope shivering in the corner of her eye.
>Tachi remains silent, staring, ghostly sounds of her forgotten memories ringing in her ears. One leg takes a halting step forward.
>Port takes a step to stand by Hope, taking the younger girl's hand in her own. "Hope, what's wrong?" She looks back over to Tachi. "What's gotten into the two of you?"
>"There's... so much sadness." Hope says, wrapping her arms around her. "So much regret.. b-but... so much happiness too? It's all so confusing, and... and under it all..." She whimpers, refusing to elaborate.
>Protoca finishes for her. "...There's so much hate."
>Hope doesn't disagree.
>Tachi quietly, as if she were walking up to a casket at a funeral, steps forward. Her eyes soften from their staring and more tears fill them as she nears the wreck.
>Lily follows after Tachi, warily glaring into the mist around them. It is too thick to see more than dust and shadows.
[Port and Tachi make Perception checks.]
[Tachi suffers a -4 penalty.]
>Port's cameras whirr as they scan the fog. Her ears are flat against the side of her head as she tries to pinpoint the source of whatever it is Hope is detecting.
[Port thinks the mist is thicker about the edges of the room than it was before. She wasn't paying attention so it's hard to tell, but it might be creeping in. Slowly.]
[Tachi fails to notice anything, caught in her memories. Mourning.]
>Port looks to Protoca. "The fog is getting thicker." She has a hand on one of her pistols.
Magic Bullet doesn't work on African Throwing Knife correct?

Correct, it is a melee attack, not a shooting attack. It'd also be a very strange build choice.
Correct. African throwing knife is a Melee attack, while Magic Bullet only works on Ranged attacks (e.g. attacks made with guns).

Something I preferred about the previous translations was actually the distinction of calling 'Ranged' attacks 'Shooting' attacks instead, because it helps to disambiguate between attacks that are made with guns and attacks that have a range larger than 0.

What are you talking about, the old translation was the one that called them ranged attacks. The current one calls them Shooting.
Something I realized that may not be obvious now that I'm doing a fresh read: The mech laying on the ground is Tachi's old Arachne unit, like the one Port saw in Cleoh's memory. They've found its impact crater in the side of the tower.

>B33 beeps a wary trill.
>Its sensors are inadequate to penetrate the shade and gloom.
>Tachi comes to a stop at the edge of the crater and collapses to her many knees. Shakily she reaches out a hand to feel the ruined metal of the object within.
>Lily is trying to figure out what to do to soothe Tachi. She does not seem perplexed by Tachi's behavior at all.
Hope's shivering intensifies while the rest of the dolls scan the room.
>Suddenly, Protoca whirls about, eyes blazing with emotion as B3-206 rushes forward, placing itself in front of Port.
>"...She's here." Protoca hisses.
>Port whirls, gun up. "Who? Empyrean?"
>Brilliant azure lights line the room, like stars piercing harshly through the gloom. Dozens of them.
>"I was off by one, but oh well," Port mumbles as she tries to pick out an actual target in the mist.
>On the far end, standing atop the empty remains of an internment coffin, the party sees a figure rising out of the Mist. There was no shadow. No movement or warning. They seemed to lift straight from the ground.
>They were clad in a tattered cloak, wearing an advanced armor clearly patterned off the Old War armor favored by the Fallen Warriors (and Cleoh), though their arms were entirely mechanical and more closely resembled a Protector Unit's. Beneath their helmet, their eyes glowed a cold sapphire.
>Port barks at the pair of dolls over by the scrap heap. "Tachi, Lily, look alive! We have company!"
>Tachi doesn't react at all, lost in her own world as her hand caresses the shattered metal.
>"Hm. Typical." The voice - her voice - Abbadon's voice? - echoes off the walls, with no discernible source even though Port seems to be staring directly at her. "If I sought to kill you, you would be dead."
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The current .pdf has them listed as 'Ranged.' Pic related is capped directly from the Oct. 2019 .pdf from the wiki.
Though the actual wiki sections are still labeled Shooting, you're right.
Crime pays but botany doesn't.
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>"Not with me on my feet, murderer!" Protoca shot back vehemently.
>"Ha." There was a single huff of laughter. "No, you would still die first. Again."
>"What do you want?" Port's voice is loud, but even.
>"It's not a question of what I want," Abbadon rebukes, "but what remains. This tower stands, its manager blindly groping in the dark. Creating lives. Ruining lives. Warping memories. It is a stain on the world that I will see erased."
>Port's thumb slides over the hammer of her pistol. "Then what do you want with us?"
>"It is a courtesy." Abbadon says simply, lifting a bony, metal hand casually to the side. "Your mission to negotiate with Apollo is pointless - regardless of its decision, I will see it undone. You may flee still if you wish. I have no grudge against you. But if you are too slow, this place will be your grave-marker."
Tachi drifts through a sea of memories. A dark place. A cold place. There are glimmers of warmth and light, but they pass before they can be touched. A dull grey light flickers in the distance.
>Port chews on her lip for a moment. Her eyes dart between her sisters before looking back to Abaddon. "I think I'm the only one with any interest in negotiating with Apollo. But even then, I'm not content to just turn around and let you level the tower. There's more at stake than your grievances."
>"Such as what?" The reaper laughs, "This den of madness and corpses. Its pipe dream of a future. You stand in a house, trying to put out the fire, not realizing that everything is already ash."
>"Shut up!"
>The battered room shakes.

Someone obviously fucked up because the premade dolls and stat blocks, even in the PDF, have it listed as shooting.
>Hope takes a deep breath, tears in her eyes.
>"Just shut up! You... you..." She flounders for a time, trying to form words as Abbadon tilts her head in bemusement, "...you hurt. I hurt. Everyone hurts. But we can only hurt because we're still here. Even if your house is gone. Even if your home is gone. As long as you can walk, you can build a new one. Find a new one..." She peers intently at Abbadon, whose expression remains even.
>"...You're the one trying to put out the fire. You don't want to let go."
>"You could have left a long time ago." Port chimes in. "The tower can't chase you, can it?"
>Abbadon is quiet. Glaring.
>"How long were Roselia, Lily, Thistle, and Thorn all trapped here while you raged against the Protectors? What have you actually done all this time?"
>"Everything I can."
>Abbadon is seething.
>"You think it's so simple? I've tried everything else. Only one thing gets a response. This world will be undone."
>The mist thins, revealing hundreds - thousands -of gleaming locusts... holding back an ocean of Empyreans.
>Small. Large. Young. Old. Human. Animal. Unrecognizable. All of them claw forward, trying to reach outward.
>Port snarls. Turning to take in the scene. "You're fighting both?"(edited)
>Locusts. Metal. Each other. It does not matter. If it is in their path, it is severed, and consumed, and from the remains they are created anew. The Empyrean dead writhe.
>"...You're insane." Protoca says in disbelief, taking in the sheer number of Empyrean Dead around them.
>Port pauses. "... She's just holding them. Containing them? What is this?"
>Lily's sword ignites, and she abandons trying to draw Tachi's attention, resigning herself to defend her until she wakes instead.
>Hope is utterly taken aback. She's seen slaughter before since waking in this world, but this... She trembled, biting at her lip. B3 ushers her behind it, placing a hand on her shoulder for a moment
>Abbadon gazes upward. "Do you see it? They're all reaching for one place."
>-The heights of the tower.-
-Or is it Abbadon herself?-
>A realization comes to Port. "Are you Merci?"
>"That doesn't matter anymore. She's crying and wailing and raging and she can't even hear me... There's only one thing she's still reaching for..." A cylinder shoots out of Abbadon's left arm, from which extends a blade, which ignites into brilliant azure energy.
>"... So the only thing I can still do is give it to her!"


And... this is embarrassing but I'll need to cut off here for now and continue tomorrow. I've just realized that I never daramtized the combat notes for the Abbadon encounter, so I'll have to do that tomorrow night after I get home from work.

See you lads tomorrow!
It is my wild speculation thatit is a European necromancer who went insane and wandered the earth.

The Chinese are holding it, more because it lets them than anything.
>Something I realized that may not be obvious now that I'm doing a fresh read: The mech laying on the ground is Tachi's old Arachne unit, like the one Port saw in Cleoh's memory. They've found its impact crater in the side of the tower.

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Something else that I can confirm was apparently not obvious, judging from having to clear up the confusion before already; the angle of descent for the crash was very sharp, and Arachne came in from the ceiling, not the side.

I've never done this before, and the notes here are actually kinda sparse, but in the interest of cliffhanger reduction I shall proceed to post the basics of the fight

>Abbadon points her energy blade at the group, snarling, and the world seems to pulse, growing dimmer as one's gaze nears the area about Abbadon--
>--though Abbadon herself still blazes with light.
>Hope whimpers, grabbing her forehead, and Port experiences Hope's issue herself soon as she's assaulted with a dizzying array of noise, voices, and whispers.
>Everything turns black, and the darkness pulls her forward.
>When the storm passes, Port finds herself standing directly next to Abbadon.
>As she raises her arms to defend herself, she finds her prosthetics have aged and rusted over... and continue to do so, at a visible rate.
>Several locusts buzz into being beneath Abbadon's shoulder as her blade burns its way into Port's side.
>Meanwhile, the others are bogged down by locusts and find themselves struggling to avoid becoming caught in the mist and gloom as it thickens about them, melting parts away when they tarry too long.
>Tachi isn't participating in the fight at all, still caught in her memories.
>Still the mists are no great obstacle and the others make swift time in assailing Abbadon.
This may seem like some things are missing, and they probably are... but not many, believe it or not.

>Lily is the first to strike, but per her ironically poor luck for a rabbit girl, she misses.
>Port would move next, attempting to dart out of the way, only for Abbadon to gesture and space to distort.
>The distnace seems to lengthen toward infinity, and Port is forced to use her Hopper to escape.
>The effect seemed more mental than physical.
>Meanwhile, as time moves toward Tachi's action she finds herself growing closer to the light in the distance.
>It is a familiar silhouette, and points behind her.
>Tachi turns to look behind her at the figures insistence and snarls seeing her friends under attack--
>--she rockets into the fray, cleaving through a cloud of Locusts and obliterating Abbadon's head in one swing. It explodes into a cloud of azure mist...
>...which promptly reforms, albeit with a shattered helmet revealing a broken jaw and lacerated temple.
>"Get away from them!" Protoca shouts as Port and Tachi are endagered by Abbadon, eyes blazing with indigo light.
>She doesn't even register that Tachi moved there of her own accord: Instead, she charges forward, keen on dueling Abbadon.

>Protoca's spirit vines gleam blue as she wraps them about Abbadon and rends Abbadon's torso, ruining her Styx Support systems and tangling her spine and entrails about.
>Abbadon coughs up blood. It's bright red. Vibrant. Fresh... How odd.
>It's the first time anyone present has seen fresh blood in their 'living' memory.
>In Abbadon's distraction, an Empyrean Beast - a horror of many parts - charges through the picket of locusts.
>It lumbers toward the group, and Tachi reaches out and gently strokes the Empyrean Beast along its shoulder...
>'Mersi?' - The ghost of a scattered thought dances across the party's minds. -
>...the Beast pauses in its movements, frozen in the midst of its attack for a moment: caught in some spell.
>"Did you hear that?! She's still looking for you!" Port's voice is pleading as she searches for any reason to discontinue the fight
>Abbadon cannot reply. Most of her body is trying to reintegrate together, in a cloud of blue haze. She continues to fight and rage.
>Port grits her teeth and forms a finger-gun with her right hand, before blowing Abbadon apart with her psycho blaster.
>Abbadon explodes... and then a ghostly replica of herself, circa a few seconds ago, re-appears, howling in desperation.
>Protoca cleaves the ghost in twain with her scissors suddenly. Mercilessly.
>...then she spasms, panting, the cerulean light fading from her eyes.
>The dolls have little time to take in their victory, or lament its necessity.
>The locusts holding back the teeming Empyrean Hordes fade away, like stars in the dawn.
>The mists begin to thicken rapidly.
>Port fires a burst of pistol rounds into the swarm.
>"We need to get moving, now. Best case, Empyrean is going to try and press up the tower now that she's unimpeded. Worst case, she's aware of what just happened and understands that Abaddon was the person she's been looking for this whole time."
>She motions up the stairs with a pistol. "Go, go!"
>Tachi grimaces at the order to retreat but follows after a second
>Port bounds out ahead of the group, turning to offer covering fire with Lahti once she's reached an elevated position.
>She pelts two rounds into the leading Empyrean Dead, not that it slows them much.
>Lily bounds up next to her with her strong legs and Tachi follows shortly after, catching Hope as she's thrown up to her by Protoca
>B3-206 follows easily in her wake, its powerful legs denting the compromised plating in its wake.
>When Protoca makes to follow, the plates give way beneath her, and her her jump falls short.
>Too short for the others to aid.
>As Protoca falls rapidly to the depths below... an emerald light coalesces about her, forming into a vaguely familiar silhouette that catches her hand and grappling up half of the distance.
>Throwing her, it fades.
>A second appears as Protoca's momentum bleeds off, rougher looking than the first.
>It wastes no time on ceremony or finesse, wrenching the girls shoulder and tossing her over its back with all the force it could somehow muster. It too bursts into light just as Protoca's body leaves contact with it.
>Protoca is now rocketing directly into her Sisters.
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>Port drops Lahti on the walkway and hurtles forward, arm out for Protoca.
>Port barely manages to catch the weight of Protoca, her coffin, and her weaponry without being injured.
>Even so, she still falls flat on her back, hoppers skidding beneath her knees as the two roll into a barely controlled fall, arrested shortly by B3 with an apologetic tone.
>The dolls waste no time in evacuating up the walkway and into a side corridor, relying on B3 to guide them on what should be the correct path.
>It wasn't as if they had time to deliberate either way... However, his directions proved true.
>They stood at the top of the tower.
>It beveled out into two terraces, which connected to a tower in the center between them at the highest terrace.
>Something at the top glowed brightly with azure light.
>cliffhanger reduction

Why would you want to do this?

Is your plan to lay out the bone of the fight now.

Then sleep.

Then take a second pass on the fight where you have narrative in it and such?

Mostly because I ended up awake right now, have nothing to do, and know PortAnon's going to be wiped tomorrow.

That said, I wasn't kidding when I said the notes were sparse. I actually added a bit of content based off of memory.

This was like four sessions and five months ago, and the only notes we had were 'Hope and Port fail this save. Lily attacks.' before Tachi rejoined the fight.
I can answer that one, if a bit belatedly. You see, Altina was actually [redacted] in [redacted], where [redacted] demanded that she [redacted]. [Redacted] wasn't that great, but there was [redacted], who, with [redacted], [redacted], leading to [redacted] when the [redacted] finally [redacted]. That lead Altina to [redacted] quite a lot of [redacted] in [redacted] with [redacted]. By the time she was done with [redacted], there was quite a lot of [redacted] which meant that she was [redacted]. For her own good, [redacted] figured [redacted] was necessary considering they were [redacted] regardless thanks to [redacted]. Having [redacted] suddenly [redacted] meant a lot of [redacted] given that [redacted]. That then assured, going forward, a metric ton of [redacted] as she was [redacted], which really did shape [redacted] right up until [redacted], and even after, honestly. In [redacted] you can still see the effects of [redacted]. Anyway, all of that's why she is the way she is. Hope that clears things up.

I kind of just wanted to shitpost at someone with a bunch of [redacted]. You made far too good a target. Not that this doesn't cover her entire life story, but good luck actually fitting the missing puzzle pieces into place.
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You cheeky git. You went back and remade that screenshot just for this post, didnt you? Clever idea angling the tokens up like that, it looks good.
The reduction of the floors down from bright lime green is also nice.

He's doing me a favor because I'm starting a 72 hour workweek in a little over an hour and the heat is probably going to wind up kicking my ass today. He's done a better job than I could've anyway, because quite a bit of what he added was context and small details that I'd forgotten.
One undead enters

Three undead leave

She made two friends.
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This is how you should operate.
>A key thing would be keeping in mind PC damage output and how much it might take them to remove the horror that can be spawned in a bunch.

Do you mean a horror spawning legions, or a horror spawned in alongside a legion, or a horror that defensively benefits from sharing a map space with a legion?

>Legions that spawn in small quantities are usually acceptable to pump out at a somewhat steady rate.

By steady do you mean several times a turn, or once every turn? (by turn I mean however long it takes for everyone to get to 0 or negative AP and then go back up to the top)

>Something like a 3-4 AP Action maneuver to make a Horror is usually fair if it's not too sturdy and doesn't have instantly devastating attacks (you're probably fine if they hit for 2-3 damage per attack, or 1 damage plus a property).
>Spawned Horrors generally shouldn't be too easily oneshot. In a party of 4, assuming all their attacks hit (which they usually won't), I'd probably balance toward with something like 2-3 AP from from 2-3 PCs to land a kill on a spawned Horror from full health.

If I'm interpreting you right that translates to 2 or 3 attacks, likely with each attack from a different PC.
Is that correct?

Looks like I've got some storytime to binge on before reading todays episode.
Thank you Secondary GravelAnon.
>Mostly because I ended up awake right now, have nothing to do, and know PortAnon's going to be wiped tomorrow.
>That said, I wasn't kidding when I said the notes were sparse. I actually added a bit of content based off of memory.
>This was like four sessions and five months ago, and the only notes we had were 'Hope and Port fail this save. Lily attacks.' before Tachi rejoined the fight.

Thank you very much.

>Do you mean a horror spawning legions, or a horror spawned in alongside a legion, or a horror that defensively benefits from sharing a map space with a legion?

Meant basically meant the same thing a later Anon said about understanding how long it will take the PC to kill a legion/horror you're spawning in. If none of the PCs can reliably deal more than 8 damage in a round, don't have enemies that can spawn in 8+ part horrors every 2-3 count. Where as a party that a Superior Katana doll with super strength, you could justify spawning beefier enemies/more of them since they can be cut down pretty quickly. It really is a matter of knowing what the PCs can deal with in a timely manner since more rounds in Nechronica increases the chance of TPK via madness.

>By steady do you mean several times a turn, or once every turn? (by turn I mean however long it takes for everyone to get to 0 or negative AP and then go back up to the top)

Several times a turn, like having an action timing maneuver that generates, say, 4 legion every 3 count or some such. (specific numbers may vary)

Ultimately what's reasonable depends very heavily on the PC build and player competence. You seem to be looking for hard rules/numbers of what to use, but that isn't really something that can be accurately given for "general use." It's something you're going to have to tailor to the party and learn the game to use well.
Through this letter, I intend to serve as a facilitator who will help you draw your own conclusions about The Pale Observer. That is, I'll be your “guide on the side”, not a “sage on the stage”. With my assistance, you'll soon gain a deep understanding of how The Pale Observer has been using its privilege, its influence, and its resources to destroy all tradition, all morality, and the entire democratic system. Here's a quick review: Many organizations lie. The Pale Observer, however, lies with such ease it's troubling.

The Pale Observer's assistants have acknowledged that they don't want anyone to know that this was true long before the latest scandal broke. However, they stop short of admitting to a cover-up. Perhaps there really is no cover-up. Or maybe their silence confirms its existence. In either case it is clear that if The Pale Observer is going to talk about higher standards then it needs to live by those higher standards. What really irks me is that The Pale Observer has presented us with a Hobson's choice. Either we let it engulf the world in a dense miasma of ruffianism or it'll block streets and traffic to the extent that ambulances can't get through.
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The Pale Observer's occasional demonstrations of benevolence are not genuine. Nor are its promises. In fact, The Pale Observer's effusions are more than just venal. They're a revolt against nature. If The Pale Observer's belief systems get any more ungrateful, I expect they'll grow legs and attack me in my sleep. The Pale Observer wants us to believe that sooner or later it will be considered cool to lash out at everyone and everything in sight. Yes, things will be that way if we choose to believe that. I choose not to believe that. I choose to believe that The Pale Observer would have us believe that hanging out with virulent cult leaders is a wonderful, culturally enriching experience. That, of course, is nonsense, total nonsense. But The Pale Observer is surrounded by imprudent, incomprehensible gasbags who parrot the same nonsense, which is why we must overcome the fears that beset us every day of our lives. We must overcome the fear that it will demonstrate an outright hostility to law enforcement. And to overcome these fears, we must carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. Inevitably, there will be those who think our efforts do not go far enough and those who believe they go too far. In either case, a few years ago, The Pale Observer made a name for itself by publicly and blatantly fracturing family unity. Since then, its name has been synonymous with disgusting Junkerism. What you might not know, however, is that if one believes statements like, “The Pale Observer's plane of understanding is beyond the realm of human imagining,” one is, in effect, supporting patronizing scapegraces.

When I say that The Pale Observer and sophism are like white on rice, this does not, I repeat, does not mean that its hypnopompic insights won't be used for political retribution. This is a common fallacy held by devious, irascible shylocks. In the past, when I complained that The Pale Observer was attempting to fracture family unity, I was told that I was a firebrand. But nowadays, people realize that if it thinks that prisons exist not for punitive or rehabilitative purposes but rather to carry out a vexatious political agenda against minorities and the poor, then it's sadly mistaken. Interestingly, a number of my friends advised me against penning a letter that is so blatantly critical of The Pale Observer. I had to tell my friends that I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience. After hearing my side of the story, my friends agreed that The Pale Observer frequently avers its support of democracy and its love of freedom. But one need only look at what The Pale Observer is doing—as opposed to what it is saying—to understand its true aims.

The Pale Observer's two-faced taradiddles form an “ideology” in Marx's sense. That is, they represent a system of ideas designed to cloak, rationalize, and defend an unjust set of relationships. For instance, The Pale Observer's ideology denies that The Pale Observer finds reality too difficult to swallow. Or maybe it just gets lost between the sports and entertainment pages. In either case, The Pale Observer is not only immoral but amoral. Many the things I've talked about in this letter are obvious. We all know they're true. But still it's necessary for us to say them because The Pale Observer's a birdbrained, querulous smatchet who has mocked women, people with disabilities, veterans, immigrants, the working poor, people of faith, refugees, people with weight issues, and any other group that has been building a world overflowing with compassion and tolerance.
What are events of physical impact, accidents, slapstick, or less over the top movement that stand out in your memory?
For me there have been several. I GM the game with Imp, Melico, and Coleo.

PortAnon tends to get into the kinesthetics of Coleo when playing her so that leads to a lot of little moments.
For instance when she huffs, and kicks up a cloud of dust from the ground around her since she's forcing air out of the spiracles along her trunk.

Here are a trio overt ones that stick out for me.

>Imp sprinting across the street hunched low like a predator, slamming into and sailing through a boarded cellar window, and falling into a flooded basement.

(the events surrounding the latter two haven't been storytimed yet)

>Melico launching Coleo out a window a screaming Denver in her arms.

>Imp catching a falling load with her face because Melico accidentally distracted her with an ill-timed question.
In our first game, there were a few times when brain-fuckery happen. As in, seeing how mucking about with their own brain changes them. One player at some point removed her own brain and played the character for several sessions as mentaly retarded.

In the same game, every character at some point got together and drilled holes into their skulls to pour alcohol into their skull/brain to get drunk too.
Why did they resort to trepanning to get ethanol into their system?
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for got to attach the image to the post.
If they didn't have a heart or adrenaline, then I guess they decided to inject directly.
Ah. Yes that could be an issue.

I like how the way dolls physically behave and function can be so variable, even for two dolls with the same on paper builds.
One of the moments from the Port Campaign that sticks out in my memory is when Port panic-triggered Hopper while the girls were trying to peel open the bunker door and sent herself flying like fifty feet.

The girls having to put themselves together after adventure phase injuries are also fun; writing Port straightening out her busted leg and hand after Monty fell on the lot of them was a fun mental exercise. Tachi using her jetpack as an impromptu brake thruster in that sequence was also pretty cool, even if it didn't work.

Trying to figure out what Coleo's doing with her hands is always fun, just because she has so many of them.
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Nice to see your party has a "base mom" in Rita. This is ours.

She's also become one of our advisors we turn to when we need input on our latest job/dangerous harebrained scheme.
What happened next?

Everyone died, the end.
What actually happened is that I, too, failed to prepare much of anything before the thread was up, lost a bunch of time to poor luck, and then realized session seven was actually really goddamn long. Expect a while yet before any continuations, but rest assured I work.
Pretty sure that's how most Nechronica parties start, actually.
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Well on the bright side if you don't finish up before this thread falls of the board you will have a bonus chapter loaded in the tube for the next thread.

I think you two may be onto something.


What happened next?
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You'll have to stay tuned! We're actually just picking the storytime back up now.

>Port stops short, stumbling as she struggles and fails to find balance while missing a foot. She has to support her weight on Lahti to keep from tumbling over completely.
>There isn't much she can do aside from marvel at the Protectors, her broken jaw hanging uselessly at the wrong angle.
>Tachi looks up at the spire, her hand gripping Hope's tightly as Lily's comforting presence eases her lingering hurt of the past hours. Her broken jaw prevents her from speaking but she looks back over the group with a look of relief.
>Port limps over to stand beside Tachi, undoing the flap on her medibad. She motions for the other girl to lean over. "Hahee." She fishes a syringe out of the bag and readies her thumb on the plunger.
>Port sticks the syringe right into the corner in Tachi's jaw and presses the plunger. Tachi's jaw cracks audibly as it sets itself, but is functional after just a short (if highly uncomfortable) moment. Port then turns the needle on herself and repeats the procedure, wincing as her bone sets back into place and fuses. She works her jaw open and closed a few times to make sure the muscles haven't tangled, but everything seems to be in working order.
>"I really hate those the most, I think," she mumbles as she places the syringe back into her bag.
>A pair of Protector units descend the walkway to the party's right. "IT IS INADVISABLE TO REMAIN IN THIS AREA." One declares, its synthetic voice booming.
>"...secure territory?" Protoca mouths to herself, looking around. Wasn't this as secure as it gets?
>Port looks around, ears rotating. "I guess they want us to go up. Would be nice to ask them questions but I don't expect these will be able to hold much conversation." She starts hobbling toward the ramp. "And I guess we can't go down."
Do any of you have any advice on Operating Operationally in nechronica?

My group loves that stuff, and they are all weebs or weeb tolerant. In consideration of this I am soliciting strangers on the internet for input on how to do operator dolls.
>As the group ascends the ramp, Protector units stand to the side, repeating the same lines as the group's escort when approached. Up and up you go until you begin to ascend the final ramp.
>The source of the glow becomes clear then. A STYX Internment Coffin, emitting a ray of light toward the sky above.
>Tachi holds on tightly to Hope and Lily as they ascend. Lily looks around at the machines and weapons nervously and Tachi squeezes her a little harder to put her at ease.
>Port looks down for a moment out of curiosity and... stops. The sun has started to set, painting the entire cloud layer below them gold and vermilion. Up above her the stars have started to peek out from beneath the blue.
>She takes a step forward, still marveling at everything, her cameras whining. "It's really beautiful up here."
>She traces a cloud wrapping around the windward side of the tower. As she looks down, Port catches a glimpse of Arachne's flgiht path. There's a great big hole in the side of the tower, and several walkways along the exterior have been smashed apart. Port can see something crawling along them but she's too far to see what exactly it is.
>"It seems that way, the further you get from the Earth below, huh?" Protoca muses.
>Tachi nods. "It's peaceful. It reminds me of the stars for some reason..."
>The dolls are at the foot of the coffin now.
>The girls slowly ascend to the top of the spire, eventually coming to the very, very top. A STYX coffin sits here, outlined in amber light. Transparent pipes pump fresh STYX serum into the container, and the lights long its edges glow brightly.
>The Coffin's face reads '#073 - Charon'
>A terminal sits beside it.
>"This one is different." Tachi says as she steps closer to the sarcophagus. "More alive."
>Port limps over to read the terminal. "This one still has an active serum supply. I wonder what this is for, though?"
>The terminal flashes as they approach.
>>>[]Designate: SR-07: Philotes-B2-d07[]
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I ran a game with a few premade commando/soldier dolls not too long ago as my first ever time in the DM seat.
There wasn't really a whole lot of time for them to operate, but for the short time they were being covert I gave them a lot of opportunities to make liberal use of their reinforcement parts during the Adventure Phase, like how the Gothic used her animal legs to move quietly in the dark and used her wire reel to restrain a prisoner. I think that sort of thing, giving them ample and interesting ways to use their reinforcement parts, is especially crucial to that sort of game where you want your group to feel like they're really built for a purpose.

And I guess a general thing to remember; even the least combat oriented Doll is still strong enough to kill a grown man with her bare hands. They're way closer to the Gunslinger Girl girls than they are standard zombie kids.
>>>[]Objec--ve Clarification: Audience. Apollo Unit?[]
>"I think it's asking if we want to see Apollo." Port turns to the rest of the group. "I guess I confirm?"
>As it flashes in the corner of her eyes and she turns to face it again.
>>[]Statement: You are correct.[]
>>[]Sta--e-t: At this ti--- only means of reaching --pollo.[]
>Tachi nods, "That is why we came all this way."
>Port's ears flip upward, suddenly attentive. "Oh, okay. So this is a smart terminal. Well, yes. We seek an audience with Apollo."
>>>[]Genial laughter.[]
>>>[]Statement: I a- -ot a te-minal.[]
>Port blinks. "Is that Charon?"
>>>[]Clar-----tion: I a- Cha--n, y-s.[]
>>>[]Clarif--ca-ion: Th--gh tha- i- n-- my na-e.[]
>"Have you been trapped here... all this time?" Tachi says, looking at the coffin with a shiver.
>>>[]Stat--ent: It e--es th- --in.[]
>Port blinks. "... What is your name?"
>>>[]Sta-tem-nt: J--ia S-----[]
>"Are you happy?" Protoca asks.
>"...She isn't unhappy..." Hope asserts.
>>>[]State-men-: I am con-en-.[]
>"Julia..." Tachi mutters. "Who are you to us?" she asks
>>>[]Genial laughter.[]
>Port makes a bit of a face. "That's a bit of a pointed question, Tachi."
>>>[]Statement: Your t--ket to t-e s--rs.[]
>Tachi blinks "Well that is an interesting answer." She says, memory of dark starry skies in the back of her mind.
>>>[]Statement: You a-e inter-s-ng pe-ple.[]
>>>[]Statement: colon, letter p[]
>Port snickers. "I don't know if those old ascii faces work if you say them out loud. But how are you going to--" she stops as the ground beneath her vibrates.
>Tachi frowns as she feels the barely perceptible vibration. "The tower is shaking..."
>>>[]Statement: You are correct.[]
>>>[]Clarification: Em---ea- forces have engaged t-e Protectors. We a-- -ow on ti-e.[]
>Tachi takes a deep breath and takes the hands of Lily and Hope. "Well you better do what you are going to do then."
>Port looks back to Charon. "How do we travel to Apollo's location?"
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>>>[]Request: Yo- mus- cho-se it. And y-- -ust b- war-ed.[]
>>>[]Advi--ent: I c---ot tr--sf-r m--hi--s reliably.[]
>"Clarify." Protoca demands, glancing to Tachi and Port's cybernetics.
>>>[]Sta-ement: I do not know. I a- --t a te--ep---h.[]
>>>[]Theory: I- -- t-- s---l.[]
>>>[]Advism--t: Cyberne--cs are f--e. P-rts, ma---ri--, Pr---ct-rs... Unreliable tra-sfer.[]
>>>[]Advisement: Add--ionally. I h--e n-- tried moving t-e sane.[]
>>>[]Admission: Ve-y far.[]
>Port blows air out her nose and looks up to B3. Then back to the terminal. Then back to B3. The swarm of Empyreans below them comes to mind.
>It's luck either way, isn't it?
>"Bee, do you want to come? Even if it might not work?"
>B3 looks between her and the terminal
>It is deliberating
>The ground quakes again; no one has any difficulty feeling it this time.
>Tachi fidgets, her mechanical legs making soft scratching noises on the surface. "Is there anything we can do to increase the chances?"
>>>[]Sta-ement: I do not know. Possibly?[]
>B3 beeps something.
>>>[]Admission: It is un--k--y.[]
>Hope gasps. "Then... That's why... you're... what will happen to you?"
>>>[]Admission: I do not know.[]
>>>[]Request: Please choose.[]
>Lily grips Tachi's hand tightly
>Protoca grips her shovel, looking away from the terminal with a pained expression.
>The tower shakes again.
>"I want to go." Tachi says softly, returning Lily's squeeze
>Port grips B3's hand. "It sounds like luck either way."
>>>[]Request: Please choose.[]
>Port squeezes B3's hand. "We're going."
>B3 beeps.
>>>[]Statement: I see.
>B3 lets go of Port's hand and pats her head just as she puts together his message.
>>>[]Statement: It was nice to meet you.[]
>Port's ears fall. She leans in and hugs B3 with her good arm. "Stay safe, OK Bee? I want you to be here when I come back, OK?"
>B3 pats her head again, rubbing her hair.
>"PR$T$$T... YOU... PRRR$$T."
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>Tachi blinks a tear out of her eye and reaches around with a long robotic leg to pat B3 on the head. A metallic ringing sound can be heard. "You were a good robot friend."
>B3 pulls its gun into a salute and steps away.
>>>[]Bracing inhalation.[]
>>>[]Statement: I am sorry.[]
>And the world is cast into light.
Everything is green, and blue, and white.
Scenes from memory pass in and out of focus. Moments and thoughts and feelings.
It all comes together to the moment of a young woman in a tube, bracing herself and taking a deep breath.
And over everything else, the sound of someone screaming.
It is your own screaming.
It is her screaming.
From your mouth. From your mind.
Everyone is screaming together...
> . . . but some manage to stop.
>And then a gentle violet light encompasses them all, and the pain stops.
>The dolls wake up in something like a warehouse. There are steel containers strewn about and several forklifts parked around the floor. There are no visible sources of light, but there's some sort of dim illumination coming in from the far side of the room.
>There are also bodies littered around the floor. Though they're quite old.
>Tachi retrieves her flashlight and by turning the crank it casts a weak pool of light.
>Port leans against the wall, blinking something blurry from her eyes. She's on the verge of hyperventilating. She can hardly contain it.
>He'll be fine. He'll be fine. He'll be fine. He waited this long. He'll be fine.
>She balls her hand into a fist and curls forward, pressing it against her forehead in a sort of prayer.
>... Please be fine.
>Hope is hugging Port.
>Even before Port woke up, Hope was already hugging her.
>She's humming something under her breath; just quietly only Port's keen ears can pick it up.
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Mechanically, there's not a whole lot that supports it. You can have courts and sororities who fit operating with some of their skills.

Thematically, just let them fluff and play their operating aesthetic. Since there's no normal skill system for doing operating, just let them do their thing and roll action checks with appropriate parts bet as their thing. It's that there's nothing stopping you from doing it more than there being specific things for it. Though you might want to allow the Blast from the Past fanwork since it has laser sights, flash bangs, and smoke launchers that fit in with play operators.
>Port clings to Hope like a life raft, rocking back and forth. She sniffs once, and hiccups. Her breathing starts to even out as she listens to Hope's lullaby. "S-sorry. Thank you, Hope. Thanks. I just-"
>"I hope he'll be okay."
>Tachi gets to her many feet and casts the light around. "Somehow I feel... let down."
>She picks up a piece of one of the bodies. "These are old protector units."
>Tachi turns around with the ancient piece of scrap in her hands, "Hey do you th-" Only to be met with a face-full of Lily, who shivers uncontrollably.
>Lily sobs wordlessly as she clings to Tachi, who holds her and pats her on the back quietly going "there, there."
>Port takes a deep, steadying breath and finally relaxes, easing her grip on Hope. "I think- I think I'm all right, now." She makes a wet sniffle. "S-sorry." She disentangles herself and moves to stand, offering Hope her arm.
>Hope accepts Port's hand and climbs to her feet. She looks somewhat melancholy, but she smiles softly at Port. "It's okay to be upset."
>"...But we should hurry." Protoca advises. "If the Gloom do overtake that position..."
>"I know, but Protoca's right. There will be time for me to mope later." She's alert now, her cameras whirring this way and that, her ears doing the same. "Do we have a way forward?"
>"Seems like the power's out." Protoca shrugs. "If there's a Protector Network here... or a way to talk to it... Then it'd be dead."
>Hugging over for now, Tachi returns to casting her light around at the walls. "Maybe there is a door," she glances at the heavy door making up the entirety of one of the walls, "-smaller door."
>Port grimaces. "We won't move that without power, I figure. Let's go look down the stacks and see what we find; there should at least be a maintenance entrance somewhere." Port pushes herself forward off the wall and begins limping ahead, toward the far side of the warehouse.

Calling it here for tonight. See you lads after work tomorrow.
How do your dolls get around?
I figure most dolls are going to be walking by virtue of no vehicle rules and the post apoc. theme. Coleo and Co have gotten bussed around in various forms of drawn carriage recently, though. And Coleo has gotten really good at parkour lately.
Wasn't she already a parkour centipede who climbed abadoned buildings and stuff?
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Over many campaigns, what >>74331986
said is correct. Walking is the most common way of getting around, though as far as non walking transportation goes.
-A small boat named "Boaty the Boat"
-Not going to say because that was Gravel and we'll let that get to it in time.
-A meat ship that will grow up to be big and strong
-One campaign had a short helicopter ride. Short because said chopper exploded.
-A boat, trucks, weird long-legged creatures, a space craft, and at one point getting tossed by their necromancer.
-An undead space ship
-A normal space ship

Boats seem to be the most common vehicle, which makes sense.
Most of the games I've played in are in >>74336068 but there are a few more.

In one of them, killing some assholes trying to extort us got most of the party motorcycles. The exception was the seven year old, who didn't like vehicles and could keep pace with the bikes anyway.

In another, we got a car when my character, despite having entrails for 'limbs', managed to hotwire one against all odds. We were quite miffed when a rocket launcher shot caused it to get totaled.

Yeah. Crossing sizeable bodies of not-land and voids of space are things most dolls likely need vehicluar assistance with.

Can you tell us a bit more about the meat ship that will grow up big and strong?

Given what this thread is I'm guessing a lot of you have collections of various undead on your hard drives. Could you share some of what you've got on this thread? Also advice if you have any for them.

>So I'm running an All Flesh Must Be Eaten game soon and was wanting to add more than just zombies, maybe a Wendigo or other North American spooky thing, I've been given the tip of using SCPs and I'll for sure be checking through that but if you guys have any ideas I'd greatly appreciate it. In the meantime, art would also be welcomed.
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Being a doll can mean flashbacks to wars you don't remember.
isn't that a jobber from Kimetsu no Yaiba?
You all ever played or had other people play dolls with serious psychological issues that had effects on your chronical?

>>74318799 >>74318968 >>74319086

>Can you tell us a bit more about the meat ship that will grow up big and strong?

Game takes place on somewhere other than earth where most of the terrain is featureless salt flats and travel around is mostly done by meat boats that sorta hover over the terrain. The boat has its own little stat sheet that we can put shit on as we get favor. Big and strong might be deceptive as we are currently making it fast instead.
My doll doesn't win so much as reduce the victories of her sisters.

I never thought I've have fun playing a character who, outside of rolling high and stacking lots supports on herself in combat, does nothing but make things worse even when she's actually trying to help.

Most of the plot has been her sisters trying to survive and escape the latest unnecessary disaster she caused, or her managing to screw up something important that doesn't, or is not supposed to, involve turning things into gibbets and wreckage

The way I see it her death is probably going to be the high water mark of the bad times, since then, if her sisters survive, and manage to pickup the slack she'll drop in the violence department.

They won't be dealing with the necromancer with one hand tied behind their back all the time anymore.

Everyone's fetters are such that they are in denial about how much she holds them all back with her astounding ability to make bad choices.
What would the Red Tape Recorder do to Savants and Dolls?

Make them slowly revert to an unreinforced state?
>he didnt turn his meat-based landship into the chad mountain breaker it was born to be
I know who you are, and I'm glad I know such a cool dude ! Keep it up !
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>What would the Red Tape Recorder do to Savants and Dolls?
>Make them slowly revert to an unreinforced state?

Here is my take. But I'm curious what Ideas other people come up with to make a session out of this, or otherwise incorporate it into a game.

>The Red Tape Recorder causes the savant or doll it afflicts to undergo mass fission.

Where once there was a single being composed of many mental fragements,

There is now a bunch of much smaller beings, one for each bit the doll or savant was cobbled together from.

The party must collect all, or as many of the mini dolls as possible in order to fraithfully remake their friend.

These mini dolls are generally not viable and will eventually undergo a fatal systems collapse if they are left to their own devices too long.

Thank you.
>What actually happened is that I, too, failed to prepare much of anything before the thread was up, lost a bunch of time to poor luck, and then realized session seven was actually really goddamn long. Expect a while yet before any continuations, but rest assured I work.

How goes it?
I sure hope you lads like that bar, because while Gravel may be nothing but a series of bar episodes, this is a goddamn bar episode and a half. More productively: later tonight or middle of tomorrow, depending on if my body demands sleep or not.
>Tachi and Lily set off down one of the rows of crates, until they come across a window... a window containing the most breathtaking view of the stars Tachi has only ever seen in her memories. "Hey!" She calls into the dark, "Come see this!" Lily and Tachi colonize one of the windows, taking in the view.
>In her haste to get to the window Tachi knocks over an ancient tool box that floats through the air in such a way that catches the eye as being aberrant.
>It's... it's quite slow, really.
>Port comes up to a slab of metal distinct from the rest of the wall. Green lettering above it marks it as the passage to 'Arboreal Habitation Unit #25.' A pair of very, very dim, steady, white lights flank the top corners of the door.
>The lights are... odd. But it takes her a moment for her to register why.
>The light level doesn't oscillate in her cameras in the same way a normal bulb would, or even step like an LED. Instead it's completely steady.
>Chemical? Possibly.
>There's no obvious handles on the door, but there is an emergency release lever sunken into the slab itself. Port goes ahead and pulls the release without much ceremony.
>There's a click. A hiss. A whirry-snick-snick.
>And the door slides a little to the right
>"Tachi, give me a hand here." Port moves up to the left side of the door and makes to hook her fingers around the edge.
>Tachi pouts at the amazing view going unacknowledged but assists in opening the door, leveraging her legs to push against the sliding plate of metal.
>The door peels open into a mostly unlit hallway, black but for the dim green circles cast by a bank of windows along the right hand wall.
>Protoca leads, the vine and flowers shining just brightly enough to light the way forward.
>Port stretches her neck to peer through a window and sees-
>Dozens on dozens of live, green plants. The windows in the hallway peer directly into an adjacent tunnel absolutely choked in greenery.
I keep forgetting my friggin' nametag.

>Port whistles, marveling over the greenery. "There's so much of it."
>"Maybe these ones wont try and murder us." Tachi mutters.
>Port leans into the window, squinting. "You can see the stars through the other side, I think. And... there's actually something else out there. I think it might be another part of the structure. It's-" She cants her arm at about a forty-five degree angle. "It's kinda tilted this way."
>Tachi shuffles, "Well I guess we better pick a door if we want to find out what it is."
>Port limps over to a door on the left hand wall, labeled 'BLOCK A,' and yanks the manual release. She's able to pull it aside without any real issue.
>Visible immediately are a pair of unpowered, double-sided LED screens about the height of the door. On the far wall there's a hatch lined in orange-black warning lines with similarly marked cabinets built into the wall on either side, warning of high voltage and other dangerous conditions.
>Lining the hallway are doors. Four on each side.
>"Well it looks like the door at the end of the hallway is where we need to go to restore power." Tachi says pointing at the far end.
>Port begins the tedious process of peeling open doors and poking her head inside.
>Curiously Tachi heads for the end of the hallway to the labeled door. As Port looks through the side rooms Tachi rips the doors off the pair of lockers on either side of the door finding all sorts of fun things.
>The rooms are empty, save for a pair of bunkbeds in each of them. Several of them are occupied by corpses which show no signs of trauma.
>One is on the floor, one falls on Port as she opens the door it was leaning against.
>Two more are sharing a bed as if they died side by side in their sleep.
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>Port yelps as a corpse falls out of the doorway and onto her. More out of surprise than anything. Her heart is in her ears. "I guess- I guess something must have happened to the people. The ones in here are all in... they look like pajamas. It must have been fairly sudden."
>Tachi, with a curious air, heads for the end of the hallway to the labeled door. As Port looks through the side rooms Tachi rips the doors off the pair of lockers on either side of the door, finding all sorts of fun things. Mostly maintenance related.
>Most notably, there's a set of pressure suits, complete with semi-bubble helmets. Two empty spaces on one side of the locker indicate that some of them are missing.
>Tachi pulls one of the pressure suits out and holds it up. "I can't fit in this."
>She rifles through its pockets for a moment, producing a deck of cards.
>Which happens to be adorned with lewd artwork.
>"Oh hey look." She says, showing a particularly raunchy card to Lily. "I wonder if they all looked this way before they died."
>Lily manages to turn pink. A little.
>"Tachi, don't be a perv," Port admonishes. "And we don't need the suits anyway. We aren't alive."
>She blinks as she sidles aside Tachi and starts working on the maintenance hatch. "You aren't even mostly meat."
>Tachi grabs a tool belt, and tucks the cards away and starts grabbing any example of tools that aren't already represented. "What?" She says in confusion. "I don't understand what you mean."
>Lastly she stuffs one of the helmets on her head. "I found some good stuff." she says, voice slightly muffled.
>Port does a poor imitation of Tachi's voice. "Like porn!" she mocks before yanking the maintenance hatch open. "Now what's in here?"
>Tachi smiles obliviously "I'm not sure what you mean but I found tools, maybe we can use them to fix the power?"
>Port leans forward, into the dark.
Man, that's sleeping skeleton looks creepy.

That's disturbing.
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>It's just about completely black past the threshold. What she can see is that they're at a massive '+' shaped intersection, with cylindrical tunnels reaching out in each cardinal direction. There are rails for a carabiner strap system along the walls, presumably to keep maintenance personnel from falling.
>"It sort of reminds me of the crawlspace back in Sam's bunker," Port observes idly.
>Tachi looks over her helmet, feeling around the obvious places someone might put a switch.
>Flipping a hidden switch the helmet comes alive, lights brightly illuminate the hallway while a burst of static fills her ears. "That works." she says blinking spots out of her eyes. "We can probably use these." Tachi says, holding out the helmet to show Port.
>"The light would be helpful," Port admits as she takes the helmet from Tachi. "Do you think we ought to keep looking through the hab or dig through the maintenance hallways? Though it seems kind of... oblique if Julia was sending us to go meet Apollo."
>Tachi thinks for a moment. "We could split up? One group can work on fixing the power and the other searches the area?"
>Port's ears droop a little. "Tachi, that... sounds beyond us."
>"We don't know where anything is," Protoca opines, "or how large the facility is."
>A memory tickles at the back of Port's head but... she can't quite draw it out. Suddenly she looks sullen again. "Bee would know." She's quiet for a moment. "But the Tower wouldn't be that atypical for the Protectors, and this is where Apollo is holed up. It's probably huge."
>Tachi nods sheepishly, "Sorry, I got excited..."
>"This is just Hab 25." Protoca comments, and Hope sighs.
>"...that'd be a lot of people."
>The dolls file out of the hab block and back into the hallway. With the new light, they can see down to the far end which terminates in a door labeled 'AIRLOCK' in bold, block letters. There's a bank of sandbags piled up to one side of the door, a little ways away from the wall.
Since you've been on the recieving end of it PortAnon, and since you've been on the giving end PortDM, do you have any thoughts or advice on how to make ghosts scary, especially in a setting where the undead are already commonplace?
>as the small prongs above grow larger and large.
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Eh. Can't catch 'em all.

>The dolls begin moving down the hab hallway, over to the far door. As they come up to the sandbags they realize that there's a duo of new corpses slumped behind them in what appears to be some sort of military or police gear; both were armed at time of death.
>Port notes that they appear to be in fully enclosed suits... which is odd, because if there was an issue with the life support system then they would have had time to move to a different position instead of just expire on the floor.
>Passing through the door and into a new Hab block brings them a similar sight to the first, though this time there's a circular hatch built into the floor; the airlock proper. It's festooned in a set of odd symbols.
>The information pops into Port's head that the markings on this hatch indicate it's been constructed with an umbilical tube for moving personnel between vessels.
>She didn't know that a moment ago. Odd.
>"Is this... unlocked?" Port peers down at the airlock hatch. "If the umbilical's deployed then that could explain the shape outside the window." She kneels down and tries to manipulate the opening mechanism.
>"Do you think it's a ship?" Tachi asks, sounding excited.
>"It could be." Port grunts as she turns the hatch's lock and pops the hatch open.
>There is a notable lack of explosive decompression.
>"That was dangerous." Protoca chastises.
>"There should be a mechanical stoppage in place if the umbilical isn't deployed. And the pressure difference would keep it held shut." Port rattles off as she leans down to look into the airlock.
>Port dips down into the airlock, taking proper note of the diminished gravity for the first time as she glides downward. At the bottom she comes face-to-face with another airlock.
>The door has a small window set into the center, which is pitch black from her viewing angle. There's also a pair of lights set into the airlock above it which are both dead.
>There's a few posters along the 'hallway' detailing the horrors of explosive decompression, though Port mostly just finds them... well, kind of quaint.
>She presses her eye up to the door glass. It's almost black, but there's the barest suggestion of shadows beyond the window. The light is about as dim as the ones in the loading bay.
>Tritium capsules, maybe?
>She re-angles to shine the helmet light through the glass, which gives her plenty of light to see that the umbilical is indeed deployed. The sides look like some sort of fabric, with a solid cage beneath with a floor of layered polymer boards. There's another door on the far end.
>She backs up a pace and plants her hand on the center wheel and starts turning it.
>Port flinches as Tachi moves to yell down the hatch and winds up shouting right into Port's ears as her voice carries over the radio. Port responds, in a much more subdued volume. "The radios are active, Tachi. Please don't shout."
>Tachi doesn't apologize.
>There is no explosive decompression as the door opens. Port pads across the boards with some caution. "There's another airlock door down here, to something that's definitely not the station. The writing next to it says 'SMLB - MERCY.' Whatever that means. But it definitely seems to be a ship."
>"Something, Motor Life Boat." Tachi relays.
>Port hears a high pitched noise coming from the other end of the radio followed by Tachi's "It's a spaceship!"
>Port presses her face up against the new airlock's window. "There's a few pressurized suits in here, like the ones we found in the maintenance lockers. Rack looks full though, which I think means no one was off-ship. I'm going to go ahead and take a look inside if you guys want to come." She puts a hand on the airlock's handle.
>Tachi sighs over the radio. "I'm probably too big to fit."
>Port drifts forward and into the ship.
>>Hope whimpers, grabbing her forehead, and Port experiences Hope's issue herself soon as she's assaulted with a dizzying array of noise, voices, and whispers.
>>Everything turns black, and the darkness pulls her forward.
>>When the storm passes, Port finds herself standing directly next to Abbadon.

What kind of custom parts did you make to let abbadon force movement at range like that?
>And... it's bare. Simple spartan metal and plastic, space for maybe half a dozen crew and some passengers, space for the same in passengers plus what appear to be a couple of zero-G triage beds. There's some visible storage space but nothing particularly interesting.
>"There's not much to see, Tachi. The place doesn't even have any dust in it. Just chairs and consoles with no power. I think it was pretty much parked here and forgotten about." Port drifts by a viewing window, which finally gives her a decent view of the station's exterior. Or part of it; it's too large for her to get a good view of the whole thing. "And I was right. The station is... it's really big. I think it's a ring, or maybe a disk; we're probably held on the floor by rotation, I figure."
>Port peers out a little while longer, searching for details or clues.
>The first thing she notes is that there are other ships parked along the ring at regular intervals.
>The second is- "Oh! There's- there's a section with power on the far end of the ring. It just rolled out of sight." A pause. "There's also some debris floating around that area. The ship that should be there is missing, and I can see the umbilical extended out in to space, which- uh..."
>"That isn't standard procedure."
>There's another pause before Port continues.
>"Actually, I can see the ship. It's drifting out in the middle of nowhere. It's awful far out, too."
>"We'll probably find Apollo in either the powered section or somewhere in the central part of the station." Tachi replies. "It looks like there is an industrial area on the other side. There's a whole map here in the lock."
>Port crawls out of the medical ship, back into the umbilical (after jamming a first aid kit she stumbles on into her medibag), and finds her way back to Tachi. "Oh. I hadn't seen this."
what are the GIANT CHESS PIECES for?
I've read this storytime front to back and I still don't get where the party pieced all this about Abbadon and Empyrean's relationship together from?

I feel like I missed something big and obvious somewhere.
Well Joy's ghost was on a Rook.

So I'm guessing those hold ghosts of other NPCs who have died since.

Like the people that form Protoca's spirit vines.
>It's something analogous to a map one might find in a large shopping mall, complete with a 'YOU ARE HERE' star marking their current location. Unfortunately it doesn't do much more than outline the nearby hab blocks and the cargo area they've already left. Though it's at least clear they don't appear to have any paths worth backtracking for.
>Apparent leads expended, the party continues down through the line of hab blocks, picking their way through the place. The other blocks are all depowered just like the first, and they find more deceased soldiers in similar defensive positions.
>The next two habs pass by without any notable event or find, though one or two of the dolls stop occasionally to marvel again at the adjacent greenhouse and the stars beyond them.
>The door to the third hab block, however, opens a bit... easily?
>There's a rushing sound as Port levers it open. Power?
>And then the surge of air flings her out into the vacuum of space.

And that's all caught up! See you gentlemen next time!
>>When Protoca makes to follow, the plates give way beneath her, and her her jump falls short.
>>Too short for the others to aid.
>>As Protoca falls rapidly to the depths below... an emerald light coalesces about her, forming into a vaguely familiar silhouette that catches her hand and grappling up half of the distance.
>>Throwing her, it fades.
>>A second appears as Protoca's momentum bleeds off, rougher looking than the first.
>>It wastes no time on ceremony or finesse, wrenching the girls shoulder and tossing her over its back with all the force it could somehow muster. It too bursts into light just as Protoca's body leaves contact with it.
>>Protoca is now rocketing directly into her Sisters.

What is this? What's happening. Where is the ghost relative to the floor Protoca fell through and Protoca herself?

Has the ghost spawned a shadow clone of itself. One throwing Protoca up to the second who then launched Protoca up at the rest of the party?
Joy's piece is something we use to keep track of the party's max AP, and keep around as a kind of momento. The pieces in the corner were added to the board around the time the party entered the tower, and represent the various fights the dolls would have to pass as they climbed their way up (though the giant Rook is just the Tower itself). They were toppled and named as the group ascended, which you can kind of see in this pic here: >>74308047

IIRC there were pieces at the base of the Rook for Lily, Roselia, Thistle and Thorn, and Abbadon but I'm zonked from work so I might be adding one or two. I'll give you a free guess as to who the King represents.

One of them catches her after she falls short on her jump, flings her upwards, and then the second catches her and throws her up the rest of the way for Port to catch.

>Has the ghost spawned a shadow clone of itself. One throwing Protoca up to the second who then launched Protoca up at the rest of the party?
Basically. Though it's two separate ghosts. One for each of the flowers sprouted on her head.
There are benefits to being an apartment building for ghosts.
Some of it may have been OOC speculation (and there was a lot of that, so it may not have translated properly into roleplay), but Port pieced together Abbadon = Merci from the memory terminals she encountered in the previous session here: https://desuarchive.org/tg/thread/71958657/#72011763

>One of the memories is Cleoh remembering better days
>One of the memories is someone suffering from endless pain and hunger, begging for someone named 'Mersi'
>One of the memories is from someone who wanted to end everything

Cleoh's fate is already known, so the only other two active pieces on the board at that moment were Empyrean and Abbadon. And, well, hint's in the name for Abbadon so that makes the rest of the connection simple, helped along by the (just slightly heavy-handed) hints given in >>74306144

Are you /pol/ posting?
That's a negative Ghost Rider.
My character Phyllis is off her rocker, and has trouble separating her memories and the feelings that come with them from reality. The Pale Observer is at least in part a Boogeyman of her own imagining, but the necromancer is having fun making it unclear if there isn't someone really out there watching and subtly shifting things behind the scenes for some purpose who Phyllis thinks is The Pale Observer. As for the letter itself. I used Scott Pakin's automatic complaint-letter generator to create the madness letter and then used that to help me develop and get into the character.
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Quick overall advice. Understand what your players want/will do. If they have no interest in being scared, you can't scare them. Horror, especially in tabletop games, requires being on board for it. Also, don't be ashamed of just trying to scare the characters and not the players.

As for what you can do? Emphasize their control over the environment in clearly unnatural/supernatural ways. At minimum, the ghosts should be able to close off doors and make misfortune happen. For more extreme ghosts, you can make it that the players can't be sure the door that closed behind them is actually going to lead into the room they were in last. It should be made clear that the spirits are what is in control, not the PCs.
That's really clever.
I've bookmarked the madness fountain for future use.
>I haven't tried moving the sane

That's REALLY reassuring.

B3..... You are a good one. Please don't die.

Why would Apollo need Protector Units here of all places?
All these dead bodies are worrying me.
>All these dead bodies are worrying me.
Nechronica may not be the game for you, fren.
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>>And then the surge of air flings her out into the vacuum of space.

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>For more extreme ghosts, you can make it that the players can't be sure the door that closed behind them is actually going to lead into the room they were in last. It should be made clear that the spirits are what is in control, not the PCs.

How do I do that in a way that is engaging instead of having it come off as me being a dick?
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I'm looking forward to the next thread.
In her defense, she is on a bit of a timer. What with her robot dad making a desperate last stand back on Earth and all.

One of the things is that Nechronica is a fairly linear/on-the-rails game by design so unless the players aren't actively trying to not go forward, they're making progress. As long as you don't do it in a way that makes it feel like you're wasting the player's time, you should be good.
said, it's pretty much all about ambiance and suspension of disbelief. That said, as an extension, demonstrating a threat to something players actually care about or are invested in is usually effective, whether or not that's their actual characters.

Hope passed her save. It institutes a Madness Check. If they fail, they find themselves in Abbadon's area. This effect can only proc once per combat.

Like Port said, they were a graphical representation of the hurdles the party would need to overcome... also, to make the party ask 'Wait. What's with the giant chess pieces?!'

Thistle and Thorn's spirits, which disappeared toward the top of the tower at the end of that fight, are assisting Protoca. They would have assisted any of the party, but only once.

...Why would Apollo need Protector Units in the facility that it presumably houses itself in? Dunno, man.

Why are they in this warehouse? It's the 'receiving' hangar for the station. This is where Charon practiced sending things, so this is where things would show up if Charon sent them here. It is the most feasible location for an attack to originate from.

I know right? I even (accidentally) foreshadowed this with the posters talking about the dangers of decompression and (deliberately) with the debris field Port spotted. And asking if they were just proceeding as they already had, leaving doors open in their wake...

Favorite scene in the campaign so far.

Yeesh that was a lot of replying.
Nechronica is a good fucking game.

Now just a shame that the Western fanbase is led by a histrionic machine-translator who spends most of the time he isn't using on reading the books backstabbing on Discord in order to convince everyone that it's always been a puerile waifu simulator with "kooky" shit everywhere.

It's exactly like InuYasha. As good as all of the bad parts are the fault of cancerous Discord dramawhores who crown themselves leader and attempt to drag the game down to a point where it doesn't threaten them.
Why do you keep trying to spread such lies. You're the one who is adamant to keep mudslinging until you successfully poison the well. They're doing well and they're not scamming people out of money unlike other groups. Good thing anyone with sense can just directly interact with them and make their own opinion, rather than believe some random and bitter shitposter like you.

Another good storytime. Thanks Portanon!
It's exactly like InuYasha. As good as all of the bad parts are the fault of cancerous Discord dramawhores who crown themselves leader and attempt to drag the game down to a point where it doesn't threaten them.

InuYasha's anime adaptation ran from 2000 to 2004.

Discord's initial release was May 13, 2015.

InuYasha's fanbase was well established well before any discord group could effect it.
>Hope passed her save. It institutes a Madness Check. If they fail, they find themselves in Abbadon's area. This effect can only proc once per combat.

Does the madness check have any effect besides changing your location if you fail it?
Like costing the victim AP or inflicting a point of madness?

If it's a madness check, they should be taking a madness point if they fail. Otherwise it'd make more sense to do as an action check.
It's the middle of tomorrow. I think you all know what that means. Clear your schedules and grab a snack, there's a lot of Gravel to read. Let's commence then.

The story resumes without so much as a moment having passed. As the gang is reunited Adrian's query for the bomb is, “You have a fun time?”

Aida's answer is a vibrant, “It was lots of fun! We found out lots of people that could be bug-talkers.” An outing whose productivity cannot be denied. But that's not all. “Oh! And me and Kuku had a date! Dates are pretty fun!”

“A date? Really?” Adrian was theoretically present for this suggestion; but even short stretches of time can empty her mind. “Always starting younger,” Coach adds, somewhat impressed by this.

The report back to Adrian is an enthusiastic, “Really! At the end she said you usually kiss on dates, so we did that! We're gonna have another one when we get chickens again.” Young love truly is a beautiful thing.

Or a funny thing, if you're Coach. “Sounds like she's having better luck than you, kid.” A comment that earns her a quick, “Shut up.” It's a bit late though; Buinov's already laughing.

Vulovic at least attempts consolations. “Don't be sad, bad luck in love means good luck on the battlefield.”

“Who the hell says that?” It's not the most effective attempt in the world.

“Her, for one!” Altina asserts, supremely unhelpfully. “And now I'll have to keep my ears open for anyone else who says that so I can point them out too.” Kind of her to back Vulovic up, but she may wish to belay that search.

For while Vulovic is fairly sure she can claim, “... I-it's a saying.” there's one rather glaring problem Buinov can point out.

“Actually, it's good luck on games. Not the battlefield.” Quite the difference; Rita hasn't pulled a Scrabble board out yet.

Such revelations quickly dishearten the other Russian. “Wait, really? But I thought...” She thought wrong.
“That's even less reassuring.” Thus comes the point at which Adrian would rather cast it out of her mind. “Anyway, let's head in instead of standing out here.” So speaking, she leads the procession into the bar. Aida hops after, all smiles; Altina prances right behind. The bar is as it was left, empty but for Rita – it's not quite nighttime yet, so it's no surprise no one's come to drink. Even we haven't, quite yet. “You got baths or something around here?” Adrian asks, having crawled through sewage to fetch her prize; the documents are set aside for the immediate moment.

“A really shitty shower,” the bartender answers, everything in her possession seemingly fit for that unflattering descriptor. Looking up from her work, she may have more to add, but...

“First, a giiiiiiift~” Altina trills to silence her, holding up the coffee-maker as she waltzes on over to plunk it down on the counter. Upon looking it over, Rita's eyes go wide almost immediately.

“... Did you take this from the Committee?” she asks, skeptical of the safety of owning this object. Foremost is the answer of a wink.

Shortly following is a sing-song, “I don't know who that is!” Mum's the word from the bird, though Rita still looks dubious on the prospect.

“Altina, maybe she doesn't want it,” Adrian pipes up just in time for the bartender to make up her mind.

“Erm. Well, as long as no one finds out it's here.” As ownership officially transfers, those less interested in the transaction can hear the radio. It speaks in that familiar voice which all know and love. Or hate. Carla's a divisive woman.
“... Long term, of course, means you can expect more blackouts for a while.” Those uninterested in the news as well – namely, Adrian – can instead find themselves directed to those shitty showers, thankful for a chance to wash up. Heedless of her exit, the news report continues. “But on a more serious note, please be careful on your way home. On top of the bugs, we now have a murderer on the loose. Yes, that's right. Perhaps taking our meeting as an opportunity, someone breached into the Committee's HQ earlier today.”

Having only just returned from doing so, Vulovic looks a little nervous. Having been the infiltrator, Buinov looks very nervous. “... Relax,” Rita tells the both of them. Simultaneously, almost with clairvoyance, Adrian kicks up a cheery shower tune about not worrying and being happy.

The bird follows this advice easily, leaning over the counter and resting her cheeks in her palms, smiling at the radio as the news continues. “The perp that was jailed there for yet another assassination attempt to our somewhat beloved Colonel broke free as a result. Yes, they're the one you gotta worry about.”

“... What.” Vulovic looks over at her partner, as a question of exactly what she was doing for so long in that building.

“Don't look at me.” With a shake of the head, Buinov denies knowing any more than the other Russian.
The radio host does her best to fill in any blanks. “The building was invaded and the murderer freed. As they were freed, they proceeded to murder all the guards stationed there. Several casualties, already sent to reassembly, and only three survivors with heavily-injured faces.” Seems Adrian did a few girls a favor, actually, even if the anecdote looks mildly puzzling to Rita. Caring not the radio continues, “Needless to say, it didn't take much effort for them, so be on your toes tonight. As if the bugs weren't enough, I swear. Non-combatants are to remain inside at all times and only step out if the murderer is spotted or if there are insects in the vicinity. Guerrillas are to report to the camp and Chinese combatants are to report to the rails.”

In the tail end of these radio-distributed assignments, Adrian returns from a rather swift shower. “So what'd I miss?” she asks, entirely oblivious to everything. “Everyone died,” Coach responds, having to pick up the slack for her inattentiveness. Needless to say, with no context for that statement, Adrian is slightly very baffled.

Having said context, Rita agrees, “Everyone died is a good start.” Hardly something which can stem celebration.

Hence Altina's jubilant, “And we weren't responsible for any of it! Hooray!” What are casualties for which one isn't responsible but distant statistics, anyway?

“... You smashed their faces, though, didn't you?” Buinov takes a moment to remind the bird, her perfect stealth run ruined. It perks up Adrian's bulldog ears.

“What, did they die?” She only caved their faces in; how could that kill anyone?

She'll have to glean her answer from Altina's cheery rephrasing. “We weren't responsible for any of the -murders-! Yay!” After all, that's what really counts.
Judgment aside, Carla's roll has not slowed, and she has yet more to divulge. “As there were no witnesses, we are led to believe that there were at least two of them, it is very unlikely that the murderer would be able to escape by themselves.” What murderer, Adrian wonders, having deafened herself to this vital information while carrying a tune. “They are described as a very tall person, with extremely muscular and masculine features in general. Face covered by a robotic mask similar to the ones you'd see among Russian forces during the war. It seems they mask their voice as well, and there's no confirmation on whether it is a girl or not, or their nationality. It's a good guess that they're Russian going by this description, however.”

Perchance Adrian might spare herself future befuddling if she sat and listened to the broadcast as opposed to trying to multitask, but instead she opts to advise Altina, “You should get a shower too, before someone puts two and two together.” That is a reasonable concern, however.

One that summons a realization for Rita. “I'm surprised you didn't take a shower together.” Well, if she wants help scrubbing...

All the while, Vulovic has strong protests to levy against this latest broadcast. “Wait, but that's complete bullshit. We don't even wear the masks anymore.”

Buinov can only shrug at this; the place is under Chinese rule, what's the populace gonna know about current-day Russians? If the prisoner really is Russian, then apparently some of their equipment, as Carla carries right along. “They were armed with an extremely large rifle,” which Vulovic believes may be an ATR, “featuring a sharp spike under the barrel,” which Buinov assumes is a pilebunker. “In case you missed the description or you don't really trust me, wanted posters should be put up by the end of the night, according to the Committee.”
With this and a little rumination, Vulovic eventually concludes, “... It might be one of ours. Goddamnit.” Not the best news for global tensions if it proves correct. Also of little consequence to Adrian.

“Well, whoever they were, I didn't let 'em out. Though they were very sure we'd meet again...” A curious assertion, as yet unproven. Time alone will show it true or false; until then, muscles shrug.

At this point, Altie pulls her head off the counter, roused from a doltish silence by the muscle's words. “They seemed very friendly!” Having now spaced out long enough, she can finally respond to the bartender's suggestion. “Also, Rita, that is a -very good idea- and damn you utterly for having turned on the radio so I didn't think about it first, because now it's too late.” Shame without measure is hers for-

“Oh, it's not too late~” As if Adrian wouldn't be more than happy to pipe up with this in response to such a foolish claim. There's always time for communal showers in the muscle's world.

In Aida's however, one wonders, “Why would you need to take a shower together? That sounds silly.” Personal, private things showers are. Or are they?

The bird has arguments for this, she does. “Well! -Well.- There are reasons! Teamwork reasons, like hard-to-clean places suddenly not being so hard to clean with someone else helping!”

Sound and persuasive arguments too, swaying a bomb's mind on the matter. “Ohhhhhh. I guess that kinda makes sense.” And as opinions shift, the radio drones.
“Also missing were documents related to the bug incident that were being looked over. So we suspect this fella has something to do with the bugs. Wouldn't be surprised if the bugs freed them. Of course, no back-of-the-neck injuries among the corpses and no one went missing, so it has been ruled out for the moment. But the connection to the documents is undeniable. Once the militia is assembled, they will begin the sweep.” With that, it seems that the news is over. The listeners are once again subjected to Carla's taste in music, like it or not.

With the radio report concluded, Altina pauses shower preparations to report, “Also it's fun to hear the news when you were at the event in question and -no one else besides us knows about it.-” Does anyone share these opinions? They don't express such.

Buinov's a bit busy indicating the muscle eager to have a shower with the bird. “See? I told you about her.” And, well... Vulovic isn't denying whatever she was told of Adrian.

“Told what about who?” Adrian asks of the Russian, not quite paying as little attention as usual. Whoops.

“Nothing! I said nothing!” Buinov is quick to assert, denying all guilt in a manner best described as guaranteeing guilt.

With a side-eyed squint, Adrian inquires, “You bad mouthin' me?” A bold decision, it must be said.

“... Y-you hit on me!” is Buinov's defense of herself, and, while true, that isn't a crime. The squeezing might have been, though.

Vulovic, however, has seen quite enough, stopping any potential altercations before they can begin with a, “... Ladies, please.”

“Hey, I didn't do nothin'.” Thus absolved of guilt, Adrian turns to the bird, who still has yet to have a chance to cleanse herself of the mission's filth. “I believe we were going to take a shower?” It's been delayed quite enough, in her opinion.
“If you say so, it -must- be true!” Altie pushes away from the counter, bouncing on her heels. “So! After meeeeeee~” With this pleasing bit of birdsong, away to the shower she prances, without even bothering to look back to confirm Adrian's following. There's really no need to, the way the muscle carries on; she's right behind.

Without radio reports to distract her now, Rita begun excitedly poring over the documents left on her bar's counter. Aida, having a vendetta against these foul papers, picks one up herself. She's going to prove that it's almost all big, made-up words. A particularly large word catches her eyes as she scans, right before they unfocus and, indeed, go blank a moment. As her consciousness falls into the void, she, too, falls flat on her ass, memories burning themselves into her mind. Rita turns from her reading, mildly concerned. “... You okay?”

“I dunno... that was weird,” the tiny bomb mutters, wholly puzzled by the piece she's gotten. “It kinda felt like remembering something but...” She looks down at her hands, the very act seeming to confound her all the more. “I don't think it was me in the memory..?” Already the mind muddles, that which was called into question – a reality shrugged off by the bartender.

“Good ol' fragments,” she tells Aida, evidently having seen this song and dance. “Don't think too much on it,” she advises her after, not able to offer better than, “It won't make much sense unless you have all of them anyway.” By the very bewildered stare she gives Rita, Aida proves the woman's point. There's no sense to be made of this right now, so Aida gives up and returns the paper to the pile; those words were totally nonsense, though. No doubt.
After that, Aida loses interest in the pages, leaving Rita, Buinov, and Vulovic to peruse them at their leisure. Giggling intermittently floats in wisps from the shower where muscle and bird are, though its cause will ever remain a mystery. Soon enough, when they deem themselves as free of filth as possible, they make their return – Altina rides atop Adrian's shoulder. Vulovic looks over from her research, eyes trailing upward until they meet the bird. “... Are you a bird?” she asks, quite astutely.

Grinning wide, Altina's answer is a simple, “It's a lovely vantage point!” By her height relative to others, Adrian does nearly count as the high ground.

Said high ground walks up behind the Russian still hard at work looking over papers. “Now it's your turn,” Buinov's told.

“... Oh. Uh...” A page quickly finds itself replaced as she rises with a snappy, “Whatever, let's get this over with.”

“You look like a bird,” Vulovic reiterates, dropping the page she was holding. She's quick to add, “It's not an insult, I swear.”

“Is that so?” Altina's head jerkily cocks left, right, left again, her smile never wavering. As Buinov takes Vulovic's hands, the bird's parting words are, “Well! I appreciate your kind words!” And so another duo sets off to have a shower together.

Watching them go, Adrian asks a quite silly question, “She knows she can shower on her own, right?” One would think Adrian would be for girls showering together – but maybe it only counts when they're showering with her.

“... Eh.” Rita shrugs the whole thing off, though she can't help but comment, “Starting to feel like a homeless shelter already.” Homeless shelters don't usually provide infinite free booze, however.

“That feels a little insulting,” the muscle decides, not quite liking the comparison.

Focusing back on the papers, the bartender assures her, “It's not, don't worry.” That solves that, so Adrian begins her own skimming.
“You know,” she figures as she's scanning her first page, “we should probably put these somewhere out of sight before customers come and get ideas about where this stuff came from.” Smart.

But unnecessary. “Well... To be fair, I think all of my regulars are in on your little schemes.” Adrian shrugs. Doesn't hurt to be careful. What's life without a little danger, though?

“...Oh! Right!” This has, however, reminded the tiny bomb about something she has yet to report. “Eddy was gonna figure out where the bug-talkers lived and probably come!” It still does not get the rapid replacement of these documents somewhere less conspicuous.

Absent any pressing need to panic, Adrian just keeps reading, though every word grows less interesting to her than the last. Right up until her legs go as jelly momentarily, one particular word striking her like a punch in the gut, leaving a reaction just as bad. She rubs the affected area with a violent, “Dammit!”

The bartender pauses, looking over with markedly less concern. After Aida, she's quite sure there's only one explanation. The memories these pages are instilling really don't play nicely. “Oh boy, you too?”

“Eh?” An eminently puzzled Altina's gaze swivels between Adrian and the page that's caused this reaction. “-Eh-?”

Not that Adrian makes much more sense of it. “Whaddya mean you too?” she demands of Rita.

“Aida just had a reaction too!” A bit of patience could have still gotten the muscle that.

Especially since the bomb adds, “The papers are weeeeeeird.” She has deliberately avoided looking at them any further. Unlike Rita, who's dragged one sheet real close to her own face.

“These do nothing for me though,” she reports as the venture fails. “Probably because I'm old.” The wonders of having unlived long enough to puzzle together one's life; its drawbacks are tempered with some benefits.
Alternately, there's another explanation, which crosses the muscle's mind. “Huh... Maybe it's got something to do with our necromancer?” A guess that fits together what little we have well enough.

“Who knows. It's just bug stuff. You had a bugromancer?” Were Rita's guess the case, one might reasonably presume a few more insectile features.

And indeed, of the memory she received Adrian admits, “I didn't see any bugs in it.” The theory seems to have a few more holes than appearances suggested. But as Rita said, it won't make sense until we have everything.

Aida proposes further, “Did we have a weird bug person for a necromancer?” Perhaps this is the missing link. Or perhaps it's the random musings of a child. It spurs no further discussion all the same. Instead, the research carries on.

Continued inspection proves it's a lot of scientific documentation by an arguably brilliant woman named Camila, who seems to have the strange habit of referring to herself in the third person. Most of what the muscle reads doesn't help. It just covers the bugs' life cycles, how they deposit eggs, their burrows and how they glow; any relevant parts of this have been observed by the party personally. The eggs do seem to need to absorb water through some sort of membrane to survive – in the African desert, that severely limits where it's viable to lay them, leaving bodies and what few water-rich locales may exist nearby. By this point though, Adrian is just about done, finding anecdotes of undead bugs birthing live bugs mind-numbing, not caring how red coloration can distinguish them from black or brownish undead ones. Utterly bored is her, “Yawn,” abandoning the search for anything else relevant. “Guess we'll check wet places later.” With no objection, a future course is now set.
Altina, however, has grown curious by this point, about the peculiar effect and the actual contents; she quickly snatches up some pages, never minding the fact that she hasn't left Adrian's shoulder. She merely needs to find her own triggering word to feel a similar jolt, mind rushing to fill in blanks. Actually attentive for once, Adrian makes to catch her if the side-effects prove to topple; the bird would be flattered, except she collapses backwards, rather than forwards. She lands with a thud and a numb little, “Ow. I'm fine!”

“Oh. Good.” Rita wouldn't want one of her latest regulars getting hurt in her bar.

“Next time fall forward.” And Adrian has simply peerless advice; she could only improve it by upgrading it to simply 'do not fall.'

Aida, too, has conjured life lessons from these memories and how they've arrived. “This is why you shouldn't use made-up words when you're writing stuff, it makes weird stuff happen.” Wisdom which none refute. Nor acknowledge, but the muscle is clearly at fault for that.

For, bored in a bar, what is there to say next but, “Well, enough reading, how about a drink instead?” It wouldn't be a productive day if it didn't involve alcohol, after all.

“Thought you'd never ask. They sure are taking their time in there, though.” Nonetheless, happy to do her actual job, the bartender goes to fetch beverages. “What did you want?” she calls as she rummages.

“Just a beer to start with,” Adrian decides, possessed of a bit of cheekiness for a moment. Going to the shower door she gives a rapping knock, shouting with feigned concern, “You need help in there?”

“Shut the fuck up!” comes the shout back; sounds like Buinov. The muscle has herself a laugh, as the others place their orders.
Aida, not being floored, naturally gets 'more special' with all due haste. The bird, being quite floored, rolls backwards and brings herself springing to her feet in a showy display, hands clapping victoriously. “Very well! I too will have- well, I've tried everything on your menu except the one Chinese thing, I think? So, that!” That leaves a surprisingly small amount of booze being doled out. Perhaps the dolls will be spared alcoholism yet. In the short interim between placing orders and their delivery, Adrian starts hiding the documents, Altina springing to help with a cry of, “Teamwork!”

Adrian is slightly less amused. “While the Russians play, we cover their asses. What a thankless lot.” But at least there's beer. And Chinese tea. And meat juice – speaking of which, actually, Rita slides the bomb a large, red container to go with her glass.

“I want you to have this, by the way,” she says to the small child, who's unscrewing the container's cap to take a look inside. “It's a thermos filled with the stuff you like.” Ours is an infinitely generous host.

Aida's look inside proves that, true to the woman's word, liquid meat aplenty is contained within. She gives Rita a bright smile and an earnest, “Thanks! Blowing up makes you really thirsty!” With a chorus of other thanks, drinking begins at once.

Nigh-instantly, a quarter of Adrian's beer disappears, and a random recollection gives her a topic of conversation to start up. “Hey, Rita, you do therapy or something? What's that about?”

“... Who told you that?” The bartender's just a little surprised Adrian's aware of her secondary profession.

“Saw it on a receipt in the manor.” Now that's half of the beer gone.

“Well, we stopped using those a little while ago. Since I lost contact with the folks that printed them.” An understandable reason. Why else would one give up a handy way to calculate a tab?
“Because the total always came out to communism?” … That too. That's a very solid case for just not bothering. “Why'd you ask who told me?” Adrian follows up, bottle more air than drink at this point. “Is that supposed to be some kinda secret now?”

Rita has answers to all of these inquiries. For starters, “I didn't always put that on the receipt, though. Got a little tiring drawing the sickle and hammer every time.” And as to other questions, “Well, I'm not really sure where you'd find the receipt to begin with. Only other way you'd know they exist is someone told you, duh.”

This is sufficient for the muscle; now it's time to backtrack. “You still didn't explain what the therapy was about,” she reminds Rita conversationally. “You sit'em on a couch and ask them about their mother?”

“More or less.” How stereotypical; though the average doll may have a thing or two to say about their mother, considering. Incest aside, a more detailed explanation is forthcoming. “Y'know how you get these impulses to murder everything or to keep your loved ones a bit -too- close? Well, we could usually clear that up with a bit of a session. Doesn't really work like it used to these days, however. Nowadays the drinks are enough to carry a healthy conversation.” Case in point, here.

“I can't say I've got those impulses.” Adrian also can't say she has any beer left; this happens when one practically inhales their drink. “I get by beating the shit out of whatever idiot tries to pick a fight.” Hard to argue with that one.

“Well, if you ever feel, I don't know... Insane? Yes, that's the word. Just come here and I'll make you feel better. Probably. There's a chance you won't. But hey.” Cleverly, she's obviated all costs through the power of communism, removing a need for any kind of money-back guarantee if it fails. Genius.
Though on consideration, Aida spies a fatal flaw in inviting Adrian to come if they feel off. “But we already come here anyway!” A fact unlikely to change. Especially when the bomb will need to routinely refill the thermos she's packing away in her picnic basket.

Even setting that aside, “I can think of other things I'd rather do with you than talk about my mother~” Continuing to lay it on thick, there, muscle. But a confused looking Rita is curious exactly what. A simple shrug brings a simple answer, “Drink?”

“Oh, yeah. You can do that.” Seems obvious, really. Drinking with Rita, however, has to be a slightly more rare occasion. “Although I'd prefer not to touch the merchandise myself. It's bad for business.” What business? “... This one.” That also seems obvious, right up until the bartender looks down in dejection, remembering, well, communism; not quite so genius.

A shaken beer bottle divulges not even droplets, and Adrian finds her own reason to be disappointed and remark, “Well that hardly did anything.” There's a term for when slamming a beer does literally nothing. “That's a sign of alcoholism, kid.” Yeah, that one. Thanks, Coach.

“You're going to run the place dry in no time if you keep this up every night, y'know.” Rita chips in with something even worse than alcoholism. “Then we'll have to wait for another shipment.”

Funnily enough, the blunt statement that Adrian gives is, “I haven't really found much else to do around here, yet.” Post-apocalyptic African towns not big on sights and attractions. Shocking.

“No more to drink?” The bird claps her hands to her cheeks, wide eyes pairing with a cry of, “-Oh noooooooooooooo.-” … It somehow doesn't feel entirely genuine.

The one truly scared by this is Aida. “Are we gonna run out of the special stuff?!” she exclaims, heavily concerned about this possibility.
Luckily, such fears are swiftly allayed. “Well, that's the one drink I don't think I'll run out of. That and the tea. The tea shipments are never late.” Funny that. “Right? You'd think the Chinese make sure there's always tea around. This smells like conspiracy to me.” A smile spreads across her face, and Aida's likewise.

“Oh! Well, that's good. If you run out of the weird drinks we can all just have this.” This, of course, being the grisly juice she takes a sip of. Meaty and refreshing. Also refreshing is a long, hot shower, out of which two Russians finally emerge, wet and beretless, their hair sopping.

Wasting absolutely no more time, Vulovic takes a seat at the counter and orders, “The usual.” What is this swiftly established usual? It's vodka, what else was it going to be.

“Took you long enough,” Adrian prods the slowpoke, as Buinov flops down on the couch and abstains from alcohol. “Thought you two were swimming laps in there.”

Vulovic's adopts quite the smug air as she responds, “You know how it is, friend.” No one chooses to draw any conclusions from that – but there's really one a single logical one. Seems Buinov does most of the work, must by why she laid down.

“Such a cliché.” With this sigh, Rita has the Russian's Russian drink prepared, and Vulovic may get smashed to her heart's content.

“Hey, stuff is good. Don't let it go to waste.” The brunette won't be letting the bartender give her shit like that. She's a perfectly valid customer, and she'll drink the Motherland's liquor in peace.

“Speaking of, I'll have one of those to wash away the beer.” Skipping the middleman, Rita gives Adrian the entire bottle of vodka and a stern look. “What's with the look?”

“Nothi~ng,” Rita sings at her. She absolutely did not expect Adrian to immediately chug the entire bottle.
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Finally removing her hands from her face, Altina primly grasps the cup of tea she was given, taking a dainty little sip. It's then she recalls she hasn't yet reviewed this beverage. “Mmm, it's still awful. Lovely as always!” The highest of praise around these parts.

“You even drink like a little bird,” Adrian comments, shortly before taking an unusually conservative pull of vodka. “Hey, gimme some of that.” Coach gets her own dose of fermented potato on request, as Adrian's side-eyed by the bird, who takes a loud and extended sip. Ignoring the pointed draught, Adrian fishes out the map the group claimed, looking it over before interrupting Altina to query, “Can you read this shit?”

The bird leans over, the better to squint at this map. “Hmm...” Twisting and turning, thoughtful all the while, she gives the map her consideration, her conclusion ultimately, “... The words are all funny. So, hmph.” Straightening up, she returns her attention to her tea with a casual, “No luck here, I'm afraid.”

“Damn Russian and its funky writing.” Cursing this nonsense that no one could possibly read, she has no idea what to possibly do. Aida gives it her own shot, peeking over for curiosity's sake. No one could possibly guess her decision.

“Totally made up. None of that means anything.” Wait, maybe they could have, that was rather predictable.

Meanwhile, for no particular reason, Vulovic turns to the party to deliver a disbelieving, “Come again?” What? Huh? Eh? Shockingly, she isn't amused by this trio of confused responses. “... You know where I'm from, yes?”

Rather than continue this buffoonery, Adrian points to a little heart drawn onto the map. “Here, would be my guess.”

“... There's a heart in Siberia?” Why yes, right where she's staring, a lovingly drawn little heart. “... Was this with the troops you killed? That's so cute.”

This adorable anecdote is enough to get Buinov up and off the couch, rushing over to have a look too. “Lemme see!”
As the Russians look it over with no immediate surprises to report, Adrian figures, “Looks like it's just a map.”

“So it is,” Vulovic confirms. “Looks like the Americas are missing, though. You can see a tiny bit of Alaska here, though.”

“Pffft. Look here.” Pointing at one set of meaningless scribbles, Buinov's chosen annotation getting a laugh out of Vulovic.

“Something along the lines of 'fuck the commissar' on the top there, yes,” she explains for those who don't speak Russian. While cute and highly personalized, her final verdict is, “Well, it's just a map of the world. The lines are all wrong, though. The Silk Road doesn't really work like that. Guess they worked to the best of their knowledge considering there are no paths going into or out of China.” Wouldn't that just be a bitch if a war kicked back up?

Picking out a line that sticks out, Adrian asks, “Why's it go up to the Bering Strait?” Considering how often Adrian doesn't pay attention, it's a wonder she recalls that from any geography classes.

“'Cause there's an outpost there. It even says here, 'ice path outpost', see?” Buinov points at the dot in the middle of the line, as if that would explain anything.

Indeed, the bomb casts doubt on the very idea with a skeptical, “Are you sure it really says that? Or anything?”

“Just because you don't know the language doesn't mean it doesn't exist, honey,” Rita chides the tiny cannibal.

She might believe Russian exists, but Adrian does have to remind Buinov, “Well, no I can't because it's in Russian...” Then it strikes her. “Hang on. 'Ice path?'” It says ice path, yes. “What, you can just walk to America now?” How much that must simplify travel there.

“Not really.” Well never mind then. Vulovic's shut that down quite quickly. “You could certainly try. Right now it'd be very hard even with the ice.”
Simultaneously, Aida's side conversation with Rita continues, and she's no more a believer. “Are you sure? Because it looks really made up. How do you even say any of this?”

“We are looking into that.” Unfortunately, Vulovic is not admitting even Russians cannot pronounce Cyrillic, but she couldn't have timed that better if she tried.

“But it's another language,” the bartender insists, trying in vain to get the child to see reason.

For the bird, though, this argument means only one thing. “Linguistics are a strange field.” While neither side will come to terms with the other, this truth goes undebated.

Back in the land of the less inane, Buinov points at a dot located right over Japan. “See here? It says 'processors.'” Processors of what? “Atmospheric processors.” Like weather control? “That too. But more air filtering. If we can get the Chinese out of there we can easily freeze the strait into a usable road.” So the Chinese control the weather? “More or less. Not control all of it. But they heavily influence most of Asia with those things.” Capping the explanation off, she jabs a finger at a rather crowded confluence of lines. “And if you look at Anatolia and the amount of paths leading there you can see why we're most likely going to get our asses handed to us in the coming war.” Yet there they were, mere hours prior, possibly kicking that war off early. Bold Russians, these.

“Sounds like you'll have fun when it starts.” Inconceivably, neither of the pair seems to share Adrian's opinion.

In fact, Buinov puts as much sarcasm as she can into a lengthy, "Riiiiiiiiiiight.”

Ignoring that, as she does many things, Adrian realizes, “Would provide opportunities for me to get some practice.”

“... You'd be on the Chinese side then?” Rita wonders at this pro war sentiment, Vulovic frowning at the muscle; it had seemed like we were building such a good rapport, too.
“Nah,” Adrian responds instantly, dashing that, “I'd stay outta that, but I bet there'd be plenty of assholes getting up to shit they shouldn't while that's going on.”

“True that.” Rita raises a glass to the idea of war's chaos and all it can bring out. Not of alcohol, though – still not dipping into her own supply. She brewed some coffee while everyone was distracted with the map.

“I'm not stupid,” Adrian asserts, and as unreasonable as it seems, this isn't entirely wrong. “I know either side would throw me into shit they hope I won't walk out of, and the other side will just try to kill me.”

“Smart,” the bartender agrees with a nod and a sip. “The best faction is your own faction.” And small though it be, the A-Team is its own faction, beholden to neither nation nor necromancer.

Vulovic can make no such claims, sighing. “Can't argue with that.” What unlife must be like, with the firing squad ever looming, should one displease the necromancer.

“If we're going to kill things, I'd like it to be because -we- want to go kill those things. Which we have so far! It's been good.” The bird's sip of tea punctuates the rare wisdom that she speaks.

Liberty to kill only what we want to kill so established, Vulovic wants to know, “... So what will you do about... Well, -this.- The bugs.”

Adrian's shrug is as casual as her answer, “Kill'em if we find'em?” It's such a simple policy, but it's been working up 'til now. Why change it?

“Well, that's kind of you.” Vulovic may ascribe more charity to the A-Team's operations than truly exists.

“I mean, what else would we do?” As the muscle demonstrates; she just has oodles of time to fill, and so little to fill it with.

“Anything else?” The brunette's optimistic suggestion is, regretfully, undercut by its lack of proper suggestions. “You're set for life, friend. Having no necromancer means you can do whatever you like and no one is going to track you down and end your life in your sleep for treason.”
“Do the Russians do that often?” Adrian wonders with a squint and a sip, latching more onto their lack of freedom.

It's Buinov that jumps in to frankly answer, “No. Hence why we're here, looking for the deserters.” It is true none of these Russians have died in their sleep so far.

Some things, however, are less true. For example. “Well, is that really treason if you're being taken over by bugs?” The muscle has a point, as convincing as her vodka chug is long.

“The necromancer doesn't care,” the blonde explains, unable to change the facts. “You work against the motherland, you're as good as dead.” Let it not be said it's a policy one can misunderstand.

Staring at Buinov a moment, Adrian's dry retort eventually comes. “And you sent that poor girl back. What a shame.” Her verbal legs sweep no guilt, however.

Vulovic takes charge in reasoning, “Well, she's probably just going to get reassembled after a brief trial, like I told you.”

“Still sounds like an asshole.” The Russian's shrugged off, 'reassembly' not exactly sounding like the kindest of processes. Yet au contraire.

“Look, reassembly just means she's going to get a new look and function. How is that bad?” One generally prefers to undergo plastic surgery by their own volition. “She won't even remember anything since she's just a zombie.” Vulovic, every person in this room is a zombie.

Strange, then, how that line of argumentation doesn't exactly change Adrian's tune. “Still sounds pretty fucked up.”

“But she's not a doll. She's no different from an animal.” And technically speaking, a person is also an animal. But there's no further need to poke fun at Vulovic.

“I don't think I'm sober enough for an ethics debate.” To prove her point, Adrian violently attacks her bottle of booze as she gives up on the argument.
The statement she uses to do so sets Rita pondering. “Are you ever?” It's rather telling that Adrian can only shrug again. “I wonder how you'd fare without this bar here.” Poorly? Poorly. How poorly?

Well, the muscle figures that she'd, “Get bored and move on or punch someone I shouldn't.” Let's call that pretty poor then. “I guess the whole murderer escaping thing will mean no one's gonna come by?” Yet she bothered to hide the stolen documents.

With good reason, evidently. “They have to round up all the guerrillas and then sweep town. It'll take more than a day for the sweep to even get here.” Which leaves anyone that wants some spirits free to come have some. But enough about other drunkards. “Who's this murderin' fella anyway?”

“Hell if I know.” Adrian has all of about one cryptic statement to work with. Not much there to inform opinions.

“Seemed friendly enough!” the bird decides, with her minimum of evidence. Which has a certain cause. “And then you shut the door before I could say anything. … Maybe that was a good idea.” At least the muscle isn't blamed for her decision.

At the same time, the bartender admits, “Going by the description I thought it was you until the part with the robotic face.” Large muscles, ambiguous gender, bodies to their name... she's got a point.

A point Adrian doesn't see. “Oh please, I'm not a murderer.” Her attempt to have more vodka is stymied by Rita's squinting stare. Lowering the bottle, the muscle asks, “Do you really count it as murder if they were planning on killing me or pumping everyone's stomach full of bugs?” It's a point of her own, doubtlessly.

Nonetheless the bartender asserts, “Killing is always bad.” That said, no matter her moralistic stance, she concedes, “But sometimes it can't be helped.” She can barely shrug and start to stop her coffee before the objections roll in.
“It's not bad if you do it to the bad people!” Islamic ethics are without peer and irrefutable. Just don't ask Aida for a complex, nuanced opinion of what a 'bad person' is.

It would sound something like Adrian's, “If it's hostile, you kill it.” Which, actually, that's functional and workable. Vulovic certainly agrees, giving the muscle's back a solid clap; she's got it.

“If it isn't hostile, you do not kill it!” Indeed, Altina, that is the corollary to this rudimentary moral system. “Because that is how ethics works.” Yes. Quite.

“When you put it like that...” Rita can't exactly raise a point against the right to self defense. It almost sidesteps morality entirely, really.

With that topic finishing, so too does Altina finish her tea. “I like this for being not quite so terrible as everything else.” She holds her cup up, requesting her refill with a cheery, “Another~” Simultaneously, Adrian's empty bottle is set against the counter with a thunk, and Aida even upends her glass just so she can get in on the mass-refills.

“So you're going after the water tomorrow, I take it?” Rita asks as she refills everyone at once with an excess of arms and some graceful moves.

“If there's nothing better to do.” And as has been established, there really is damnably little to do 'round here; hence why Adrian is already several swigs deep into her replacement.

With a sing-song, “Thank youuuu~” Altina returns to the dainty sipping of her tea. In the middle of this, the door to the bar swings open, getting Adrian to set her bottle down as a small shadow approaches, closing the door behind it.

“Hey,” the tiniest of truckers announces herself, before surveying just how full the bar is in barely the early evening. “... You're early,” she observes then, rather disgusted as her eyes fall over Aida – she's not used to seeing people actually drink that.

Unperturbed, the bomb pauses to offer a wave and a chipper, “Hi Lola!”
Spinning exactly halfway around in her seat, Altina likewise waves. “Hello again!” A similar spin leaves her facing the counter once more.

“Heeeey~” The muscle's greeting is drawn out and assuredly slightly drunk. It only took an almost completely full bottle of vodka. “You hear about all the stuff been goin' on?”

Instead of answer, Lola views the situation and concludes, “... You guys seem okay.”

“We're always okay!” Aida declares merrily, full of meat and working on the path to redemption.

“Why wouldn't we?” Adrian drunkenly wonders. What problems can there be when the drink flows freely?

“About that. Has anyone seen Eddy?” Noooooope. Nuh-uh. Not really. Nah. Lola looks concerned, to say the least, as a chorus of negatives roll in.

One of which came from what may be a rather pointless source. “Do you know who that is?” Adrian asks the Russian pair.

Vulovic scratches her cheek, taking another draught of vodka. “... I don't remember? Ask later.” And she hasn't even finished her glass. What a lightweight.

“Well, I'm guessing they got her,” Lola must report, having only had this bar left to check evidently.

“Who got her? Are there bad people?” The bomb is at attention now, so close to a target's announcement.

“We don't know.” The trucker tempers expectations with this opening statement. “She went out after the guys you were looking at during the meeting and hasn't really come back yet.” Well, those are always mysterious circumstances, aren't they? “Lao Yue is fuming. I don't think I've ever seen her like this.”

“Goddamnit, am I going to have to stop drinking to find her?” Woe betide Adrian, with only but two liters of vodka in her system. How will she make it through the day? She hasn't even shotgunned absinthe yet.

“Well, you don't have to. We don't really have any leads. I think. Other than the places where they worked.” But that's where she's wrong, for among those is a lead most profitable, unbeknownst to all.
Adrian stands up, in perfect shape to handle slaughtering bugs. “No no, I'm gonna go,” she protests, refusing to be stopped. “Don't get up.” … Maybe she isn't sober enough for this, because that seems to come out of nowhere. More sensibly, she does think long enough to state, “... Hey, gimme a ride.”

“Buh.” Though protesting slightly with that noise, the trucker does accede. “I'll have to go back and sneak the truck out, but suuure.” She could do that. Or...

“Just tell'em it's to find Eddy.” She could listen to Adrian's plan; which was also Lola's plan, it turns out, as they speak almost simultaneously.

“... Although I'm inclined to believe Yue isn't going to mind it in this scenario, yeah.” Now if only Adrian weren't so inebriated she missed that.

Likewise it wouldn't be a poor thing if she could actually formulate a sentence. “Or is Lue too much of a... a... I dunno...” This is Eddy's cavalry. She must be ecstatic, wherever she is.

But it's not all bad, really; Lola knows where the muscle's trying to get. “You kiddin' me? I thought I saw tears back there.” Touching, truly.

Though Rita chooses to cast doubt with her, “You never know, you might be seeing things.”

She, however was not there. The trucker was, and, “Unlike these guys I haven't been looking through glasses and bottles.” Thus it's settled; crotchety old Yue does care.

While that's nice and all, the blitzed beast feels that time is burning. “Fuckin'... Gotta get movin' or it'll be like that shit at the manor or the quarry or somethin'.”

“We shall go on a quest most righteous!” Such is the bird's agreement as she hops up onto her seat, and then off she leaps, landing in a roll and springing back upright. “Onward in... whatever direction we have to go!”
“Right.” Lola concurs, time to go. Ooooone slight problem left. “But where are we even going? There was a band member and a committee officer, so they should both be around the office... And there was some girl that works at the water treatment facility, I think?” This is a number of places where Eddy could be, it's true. Yet what if one key piece of information could narrow where it was likely to find a sizable force of bugs?

Since the muscle is too deep in her cups to put two and two together, it falls to Aida muse a moment and eventually recall, “... Heeeeeeyyyyyy! Adrian said the bugs like wet stuff!” With the water worker narrowed down as the likeliest suspect, there's nothing else to-

“Although that still narrows it down to two options instead of one.” Well, damn it all, Lola has to go and rain on that parade. “She could be at the plant or the reservoir.”

The muscle slowly processes everything, trying to keep up. “Wet... water... sounds good enough. Take us ta both.” Possible. What if we could do one better?

Buinov can. “Hey, if you're looking at two places at once why not just split up? That'd be faster.”

Vulovic sees this for what it is. “That's just an excuse for you to drive because I drank.”

“Hey, it'd still help.” The blonde doesn't appreciate her partner just exposing her like that.

Nor does Adrian appreciate what she gets out of the suggestion. “If it's like that priest whore, it'd take all of us... her and her bitch... fuck'em.”

“Teamwork!” the bird agrees, with gusto. “It's necessary because otherwise we'd probably die.” Give it a second. Let her think. “Again.” She got there.

“We can handle ourselves,” Buinov insists, being ostensibly a member of the Russian military.

“Unless we have to open a safe,” Vulovic reminds her partner, continuing to dig in.

She gets back a rather exasperated, “Oh, please.”
“Oh, you're going?” This is news to the drunken muscle, who thought the party could and would do literally everything. But as it turns out, making friends is handy. An important unlife lesson.

“I suppose we could go to one place while you check the other, no?” Vulovic's offer is a reasonable one, though she shrugs at the attitude presented. “If you don't want help...”

Hardly true; the alcohol's merely thickened her skull a little. “Just don't lose all your bits or get filled with bugs. Don't wanna have to punch your stomach out too.”

Such fates fail to intimidate the brunette, who scoffs at the very idea. “Hah. I survived last time just fine.” For a given definition.

“Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Minus the lost limbs.” Not a definition that Buinov seems terribly willing to accept being given.

There's something Adrian wants to tell them, alcohol just a little in the way. It was... right. “If you find someone with bugs in'em you gotta reach in there and take out the stomach... or put your finger in the hole. Just gotta shove your finger right in until you feel the crunch.” As Adrian recounts and mimes her emergency surgery methods, Rita recoils in disgust behind the counter – it happens to be obviously feigned.

“... Now that's just weird.” Vulovic's response is more more sincere. “But it does sound like you speak from experience.” And lo, the Russians find themselves equipped with all the knowledge they need to perform surgery.

Now all they need is Adrian's knowledge of what happens otherwise. “If you don't they get all big and their head pops. That's not a good thing.”

“Whew. Well, it was covered in the papers.” Rita's reminder doesn't account for Lola being slightly out of the loop. Papers? What papers? Adrian feigns innocence and the bartender waves it off. “Eh, don't worry about it.”

Only moderately irate, Lola would appreciate it if everyone would, “Quit wasting my time. Where are we going?” And isn't that the million dollar question?
The rusted gears of Adrian's sloshed mind groan and turn, trying to figure which would be better for bugs. Really, it's fifty-fifty either way. “Let's go to the plant... yeah, that one,” she eventually decides, vaguely aware quarters might be tighter and better for punching.

“This is fine!” Altina leaps onto Adrian's shoulder once more, her rightful perch reclaimed.

Aida takes a moment to messily down the rest of her glass, tipping further and further back as the drink dribbles onto her clothes. “Me too, me too!” she shouts when she finishes and as she jumps down. “There's gonna be bad people to blow up, I bet!” The plan is set and it's time to go, then.

“So where's this water reservoir?” Vulovic asks, stopped from following by one of Rita's arms.

“I'll fill you in on that, don't worry about it.” Oh. Well, if she's got that handled, then yes, time to go. The party is out the door and on the way. Nighttime descends on the Congo, beautiful stars filling the sky above; by custom, another can be seen to fall. At one point a truck passes by on the road, packed with zombies. Beyond that, the walk from Rita's to Lao Yue's is a dull, uneventful affair.
“Well.” With this will-hardening statement, Lola goes up to her truck – only to find someone there: Lao Yue and her perennially stern expression. Only speaking Chinese is no impediment to asking after Eddy – and it's equally simple for Lola to disappoint her with a shake of the head. Glancing down a moment, the Chinese taskmaster is pulled back with the jingling of the trucker's keys. A thumbs up offers the plan approval, Yue silently walking off. The usual positions are taken up – Aida in the back, Adrian in front, Altina in her lap, and Lola drives us off without incident. By the time we've reached the stone roads of the inner city, several small groups can be spotted walking in the same direction, much like those commuting to the meeting. These, however, are armed folks. The sight gets a breath from Lola. “... It's gonna be one of those years,” she mutters. The walk back to the complex has left enough time for it to get pitch black out. The path is lit nigh exclusively by the truck's headlights and the moon. In multiple directions around, other, dim city lights can be seen. A modest number of them cluster around the building Lola eventually pulls to a stop by, a large building past the city limits again and just off the dirt road. “... This is it,” the trucker informs her passengers. “Should I leave the engine on? Unless you wanted a hand too.” Her revolver is pulled out of her overalls with the offer.

“Hmmm!” The bird weighs heavily the choices. One hand bears a swift getaway if needed; the other can reliably put some pretty hefty revolver rounds through trouble. “This is a difficult choice!” she announces, entirely incorrectly.

“We can blow up any bad bug people in there! We just need to go after.” The bomb holds in her heart no doubt that Allah shall lead her explosions where needs be, confident in these assertions.
“I could also go help the others at the reservoir.” The trucker really isn't sure what's best here, just listing off options. She's only a driver; she wants to leave the actual decision making to the lunatics that go looking for trouble, trusting their judgment.

And from the muscle it comes down thus, “If it's enough that those Russians need help, it'll probably take all of us, so just keep the engine on.” Right. Sensible. No one objects, so it's out the truck and on to investigation. Time to tackle whatever's gestating in the water. And people's stomachs. On getting closer to the building, it becomes apparent it's actually huge – even eyeballing it, it's certainly larger than Lao Yue's office, and that place isn't exactly small. There isn't an immediate entrance on the bottom floor, only a massive, external set of stairs leading up to the second floor. It's not entirely clear if the entrance is up there; the lighting's just poor enough vision's not perfect. But with no better guesses, the party files up. Adrian boldly leads the way, with Altina heroically riding the muscle up like a personal meat escalator. Aida bunny hops after, one step at a time.
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The second floor's a bit better, now the lighting is actually at eye level. Glass doors and windows provide a view into the plant, which appears largely empty at a glance. There stands, however, a large shadow at the entrance. “Halt!” it shouts from the darkness, voice terribly serious. “Identify at once!” And at once, quick, cheery, and trilled introductions roll in. The shadow takes a step closer, coming into the light finally. It's a very tall girl – probably. The trait most pointing to that is her short, fluffy hair. Absent this, they stand at over two meters tall, an abomination of muscles that's even bulkier than Adrian; despite this, they aren't quite as toned, merely victorious in sheer mass. Big boned, perhaps? She's wearing almost impressively little, her choice of clothing a sports bra and spats – yet there hangs a jacket, tied around her waist. It's notably similar to one worn by the water worker that Aida saw before – must be the uniform. This bear of a girl bears crossed arms, glaring at the group. Not much for a cheery greeting, this one. She gives a flat dismissal of, “Do I know you? We're not expecting visitors. You may leave now.”

Complying is not on the itinerary. The bomb handles explaining our situation. “We gotta come in and look around 'cause there might be bugs! If you're not a bad person, you'll let us in!” Bombs, sadly, do not make good diplomats.

The girl scratches her hair, somewhat lost by this honestly rather straightforward mission. There is a reason for this. “The hell are you on about? How would the insects even get inside when I'm standing right here?” The reason is that she's an idiot. She flexes her muscles, as a demonstration that she could effortlessly squash any bug. While this may be true, it does not stave off her idiocy. Why?
“'Cause bugs are really small and they don't need a door! And because someone that works here might be a bug talker!” A nine year old should never be able to dismantle one's argument instantly, yet here Aida is, doing precisely that. Is this chick going to claim that post-apocalyptic African infrastructure has literally no cracks a bug could slip in through? Not one?

“These are excellent points she's making!” the bird agrees from her perch, looking down on the foolish lout literally and metaphorically.

By her muscle, however, is this girl insulated from succinct argumentation. “... Are you saying one of my buddies is a bugfucker? What's up with the accusations? That's straight up slander!” Her foot stomps, her mind resolute. We really should be inside the plant already.

Adrian rubs her forehead, already tired of this lunkhead without knowing her a minute, trying a different approach. “Listen, a friend was supposed to swing by here and check to make sure the water wasn't contaminated with bugs. She's now missing, so we've come here to find out what happened.”

And by god, it works. “See? That's a lot more reasonable.” Yes, it's entirely unreasonable to suggest a tiny, easily missed thing could slip in a crumbling hole in a poorly maintained water plant. Do go on, please. “... Still.” She eyes Adrian up and down, satisfied after a second to figure, “You're pretty big. Are you the chick that gutted the guerrillas?”

“Didn't it say on the radio that it was impossible to tell if that murderer was a boy or a girl?” Rich, coming from the doll discernible as female only by her bust. Also hilariously off the mark.

“... What are you on about?” The guard is not lost by this response on her own merits; Adrian has to take credit for that one. “I heard it personally from my buddy in the committee that you punched the bugs out of their stomachs.” A rather helpful clarification for the occasionally slow muscle.
Understanding can now be found by all who were previously puzzled. “I helped!” Aida announces unprompted, waving her nails in front of the girl.

“I did not help because I would have just killed people. It would have been bad.” So it would have, Altina. You just roost on Adrian's shoulder and look cute.

“I haven't listened to the radio in a long while. I'm not supposed to leave my post. Never have, never will. Unless I'm given the order.” Well, for all her brains may be lacking, it seems to make her a devoted guard. And considering this, Adrian does have a useful tip.

“Oh yeah, there's a big bulky person who's been killing people. Radio says they wore a mask and had a big ass gun so you might wanna look out for that.” Perhaps this tidbit is enough to buy our entry?

“Interesting.” Excellent, now the- “But enough of that! You!” Never mind then. If everyone would present their tickets, they may now bear witness to this farce. “You think you're a big deal right?” Adrian's is not the shrug of someone who wishes to express that they're a big deal. “Just because you cleared up some bugs or whatever. Look at your puny little biceps. If you're going to mimic at least do it properly!” Mimic what? “Me, smartass!” … Who? This self-importance is astoundingly unwarranted.

“We don't know you though,” Aida tells her quizzically, finding this entirely out of left field. Right beside her, Adrian looks genuinely confused as to what this girl's going on about.

“I am Muuka. The strongest. Period.” The dimwit barring our path finally offers her own introduction.

Immediately, it's met by Adrian's, “Never heard of ya.”

“Yeah, right,” Muuka states with a snort. “Anyone who actually matters in this town has heard of me. Figures you wouldn't know.” Well, well, well, a local bigshot, huh?
Adrian considers this a moment, and then comes to the most obvious conclusion possible. “How the hell would I hear about you if you just stayed at your post all the time?” Shhh. They clearly give out fliers extolling her greatness; how have you missed them this whole time, Adrian?

The implication that the A-Team doesn't matter is shrugged off by Aida, who honestly admits, “We just blow up bad people. So, can we go look for our friend now?” Wouldn't that just be nice?

Muuka must instead boast and brag, “Pfft, my feats of strength are no laughing matter.” Your mental ones, however, provide excellent fodder for giggling. “I'll show you personally. Surely you wouldn't mind a little sparring in exchange for you paying this place a visit at this ungodly hour?” Actually the party kind of would.

Adrian looks at her less mindful counterpart incredulously. “Is that really the smart thing to do when the water supply might be tainted?” No, nor when Eddy's whereabouts are unknown. Yet here we are, muscle.

“Aren't you foreigners?” Yes. We are. … Someone really should have gone to fetch Lola. Altina could have had her here before a quarter of this conversation passed. “Who says I should trust you then? You're no better than Russians. For all I know, you could be Russians too.” As utterly asinine as this diversion is when there's a likely time crunch, for once, the lunk has the barest semblance of a point. Or not.

Adrian rolls her eyes and asks, “Do we sound like Russians?” Why no actually, no one in the party has even a hint of such an accent.

“That's exactly what a spy would use as an argument.” It's also what a non-Russian would use as an argument.

“We don't even speak their weird made up language,” Aida declares, falling on deaf ears.

“We ate a Russian once.” More than once, even, Altina. Every battlefield is a chance to snack.

“Yeah, the horse too,” Adrian adds, picking the most notable instance of Russian consumption.
The nega-muscle's brow does raise at the horse anecdote. And yet, rather than try and reason further, she shrugs, seeing the true root cause of this all. “But it's okay. I understand. I, too, would be shaking with fear in your position.”

It is at this point that the true muscle's patience is all but tried. “Fucking fine, I'll fight your ass then we can get to looking for Eddy. Fucking interrupt my drinking to look for somebody only to get the third degree...” muttering to herself by the end, she's shaken from the funk by Coach. “Kid, focus on the fight.” “Yeah, yeah.”

“Good.” Stepping forward, Muuka is absolutely pumped and excited. A childish spark gleams in her eye. Must've been a long time since she's seen a fight and she's itching for one. Taking up her stance, she taunts, “Just say 'I give!' when you feel I've knocked you around enough.” Brimming with confidence, this one.

Adrian shakes her head, casting away her frustration to instead wear a manic grin. “Okay, maybe not that focused...” Coach cautions. “Too late~” If she's going to be doing this, she's going to have fun with it, no two ways about it.

“I believe I'll let you have this one, Adrian~” Meat McMuscle gets a pat on the head from her shoulder bird before she leaps off and clear of the danger zone. The bomb follows her back, Allah not compelling Aida to take part in this one.

The competitors stand at either end of the second story catwalk. Neither cares to stare and size up their opponent; the beginning comes at once. Adrian seizes the initiative with a violent shout, barreling towards Muuka with a haymaker of a swing. The guard has no time to leap aside, thick arms crossed to absorb the worst of the impact – the sharp ends of the muscle's fists extend outwards to add a slice, hewing into her opponent's biceps before the flesh seems to forcibly glue itself together. Angrily, Adrian drives the blade deeper, but while her blow mangles, it's far from enough to make Muuka surrender.
Nega-muscle looks at these fallen strips of flesh, her blood splattering across the rusted metal of the second story, and a smug grin crosses her face. She feels in her element, and she feels victory assured. Yet what she hurls is a lumbering thing, quickly sidestepped as Adrian darts around behind. Muuka only just has time to spin about and get an open palm in front of Adrian's next blow; muscles ripple as the force passes through them, shaking loose more crimson droplets, but her arm holds firm and refuses to come apart further. With a tug she drags Adrian towards her, other arm already halfway to brutalizing the muscle's own. A low kick sends the guard off balance, bringing the broad fist to instead meet with Adrian's face; with ease does the jaw crack and splinter, teeth scattering with a hail of clattering. With the texture of soup, greyish-pink leaks from a dented head, the jelly of eyes an undercoating beneath leaking brain. This blinding serves as an opening to drop Adrian's fist, Muuka quickly driving the now free limb straight into a waiting gut. Chips of bone shatter first from the punch's force, then again when they explode towards the plant walls, along with the slurry that was once every organ to be found in the muscle's chest. That smug aura was not for naught.

Against a ruinous series of reprisals, Muuka ducks back. Her head slides past one blind jab, while a cross sails but an inch from her wrists. Her luck runs out by the third. An uppercut finds the blade of Adrian's hand slicing from stem to stern, catching the whole of the nega-muscle's torso. Abs and pectorals open wide like flapping double doors, spewing gore as internals become external, the intermingling organs dangling, where they're not simply cloven to paste. Leaning her head back, Muuka just avoids having her face split as well, keeping things from being a complete payback.
Seeking vengeance of her own, a low backhand by the guard cuts away all potential for footwork, as it smashes away all of Adrian's feet, not to mention the legs out of which they jut and the bones around which those form. The juices that they used to be can be found covering several of the windows looking into the plant, once clear glass now finding a new and visceral coat of paint, as well as no shortage of cracks as large splinters of bone make their impacts. Gravity exercises its hold upon the arms and heads that no longer have anything to support them. The guard's fist follows these down, close in the wake of a head; upon making contact with the catwalk is when it's annihilated, pooling in the dent now found in the thin metal. The moment of triumph is cut as short as she is.

For the muscle is not going to let becoming barely more than wrathful arms hold her back in the slightest. One of them embeds deep into Muuka's thigh, and with this leverage Adrian tears, the squelch and snap of prying muscle announcing her removal of one leg, which she brings down like a club in order to render the other into so much mush. Her impromptu bludgeon half liquefied, it comes down in another horrendous smash on a newly growing leg, stopping the idea of standing back up. This fight is going to stay on the ground where it's been dragged to.

That being the case, a very thoroughly ruined Muuka has precious few options for how to strike. Practically severed arms raise towards the sky before crashing down on the wildly flailing limbs that once resembled a rather masculine girl. Joints give in. Portions are pulped. The grisly scene of carnage is spread further and wider. Still not enough to make those fists cease their clenching, to get the barbs to retract in a gesture of surrender.
Instead they throw themselves upwards, coming down to meet with the nega-muscle's as yet structurally pristine head. The skullcap parts in halves, only barely thick enough to keep her entire head from spilling across the sides of the arena as discolored goop. Still she finds herself blinded now as well, bare scraps of grey matter rattling around in what remains of the cavity meant to house it. Yet as Adrian won't surrender, neither shall she.

She draws back, such as she can, lashing out skyward, where last Adrian's fists came from. She finds her mark... but her mark finds her. Much of what remains behind the muscle's fists is scattered to the night air, yet in return, the barbed fists that remain drive straight through Muuka's weaponized form. She may not want to cede, but when she no longer has any fists, she doesn't have much choice. “Okay, fine!” the butchered head shouts. “I give!”

But Adrian's arms – what of them can be said to exist – fling back again, arcing to keep at it. “Kid... kid... calm down!” Coach, marvelously intact, starts to look a little panicked. “It's over, quit it!” Over it might be, but all the same, Adrian punches straight through... the floor in front of Muuka.

The aforementioned guard is trying to hold her head into place as her blended body works to reconstitute back into a form one might call humanoid. “Such bullshit,” she spits, awfully petulant compared to the start of the fight. “This shit ain't fair, your hands are like knives!”

“Jesus. In the future, please don't challenge crazy people to fights.” Being about two inches from a hole wide enough she could drop through, Coach has some very serious advice for Muuka. She also has Adrian's other arm flipping her off.
“... R-Right.” Seeing as her skull is presently still split open, the advice actually manages to get to Muuka's brain, its unusually thick armor no longer there. … Most of the brain is also not there, but that's besides the point, and she likely wasn't using what's now missing.

“As expected of my muscle miracle~” Birdsong flutters to the ears as Altina approaches with an appreciative clap. Said muscle's bodily processes begin to kick in as she scrounges for some of the more intact meat. Legs fill in, arms exist again... her head returns.

“I wasn't gonna kill'er...” Adrian insists when she's once again able to speak. “Yes you were,” Coach counters, not believing this for a second. “You can't prove a damn thing.” Adrian can't prove she didn't just miss because she was headless.

Ill concerned with the guard's fate, Aida cheers, “Adrian won, so that means we get to go in! I guess we don't gotta blow up Muuka.” What great misfortune that would have been.

“... Whatever. Go in. But I'm telling you... There's no way in hell any damn bugs went in there.” Worse than the physical destruction wrought upon her reconstituting form are the bruises to her pride, as she refuses to entertain this notion. At least she tries explaining her logic. “Even if they tried to go through the back door, the girl there is even stronger than me. Or at least she was two years ago. Haven't talked to her since. Haven't left my post. Can't leave the post. Nope. No, sir.” Well, that dedication and steadfast belief in her coworkers is quite touching. Just one problem.

“What part of bugs are small enough to not need doors don't you get?” The disappointed bomb rolls her eyes at Muuka, judged as clearly not having listened. Adrian latches elsewhere.

“You considered that maybe they forgot about you by now? Because you've just been sitting here for two years?” How could anyone forget such a legend?
“... No way. This place is way too important. No way they'd look us over.” And yet the nega-muscle has been in this same spot for two years. “These bugs were supposed to be big, anyway! I remember the purge, at least!” Sound reasoning. Except.

“They're small until they grow up to be big. Duh.” Nine year old. Instantly dismantling logic. It keeps happening.

While Aida jihads the very idea of this girl's intelligence, Adrian clarifies. “Maybe they didn't forget the plant, but they forgot that they told you to guard here. Two years is kind of a long time to tell someone to stay in one place.” It is, isn't it? Quite the long while.

And that, surely, will convince her that- “Yeah, right. The committee knows where to find me if they need inhuman strength. Guess it's just that peaceful outside.” Reason has at this point become unreasonable. It would be funny if this joke hadn't stretched out so long.

“It's really not,” the muscle informs her quite bluntly. “The quarry got burned down. Or all the stuff and people there, anyway.” Hardly the signs of a peaceful time.

The bomb would like to add, “We've had to blow up bad people like, every day. Not a day off yet!” Allah would be proud. Yet now must come the latest in this extended parade of denials.

“Wait, what?” Wait, what? She starts to fidget and her eyes go wide at these revelations. Has she finally cracked? “Uhhhh. Surely if it was -that- bad they'd come fetch me.” A nervous chuckle interrupts these assertions, the fire leaving her voice as she claims, “I'd teach 'em a lesson. Goddamn communists.” It seems that's the best it'll get.

Leaving Muuka to stew in all of this, Adrian decides, “We'll leave you to that then, and we'll just go in.”

“This is an agreeable plan!” the bird decrees, the investigation having been stymied quite enough.

As all step forward, the guard steps aside, acceding with no further complaint and a mumbled, “... Alright. … I'm sorry.” Adrian shrugs, already having let it go.
Aida bears her no ill will, offering Muuka a parting wave and a chipper, “Have fun guarding your door! If you hear stuff blow up, there were bugs in there!” But surely it'll be all quiet on that front after everything she claimed.

Altina, too, tells her, “Also you did put on a -very- respectable show and I think you are an okay person.” Muuka gets a thumbs-up from her, seeing as that is a respectable gesture. “Now! Let us be on our way!” With a flourishing flip, she plants herself right back on Adrian's shoulder, where she belongs.
The glass doors to the place aren't any further obstacle, and open just fine. “Does it really not bother you that much, kid?” Coach asks her other head. “What bother me?” Well, Adrian, a lot of things about the past minutes. But specifically, “The way she just jumps on.” A shake of the head and a bemused, “Why should it?” answers that clearly enough. Coach just rolls her eyes. As the procession gets a chance to look inside, the sheer volume of dust begins to conjure doubts that anyone comes here, insect or not. A long hallway leads further into the building, where two sets of stairs ascend further upwards, a strange hole found between them. On the party's sides, obscured in part by night's cover and scarce lighting, are what seem to be numerous pools; what function they may possess, no one is sure. The sound of rushing water greets the ears, as if in proximity of a fiercely rushing river. Leading everyone up the stairs, Adrian finds a platform with doors on either side – in the middle between them is a ladder going down. Trying either door proves both that they are locked, and that seemingly two decades' worth of dust have accumulated on their handles. “Maybe Eddy didn't get around to coming here...” the muscle muses. Perhaps, but the ladder tells another story – it's missing the layer of filth. Moreover, when Adrian takes a listen, she hears it – an intense buzzing sound, as if someone modeled an engine after a bee. “Sounds like there's bugs down there,” Adrian whispers to her companions.

“-Lovely.- Are we going to make with the killing right now or keep looking around?” The bird holds up a hand with her low reply, ready at a moment's notice to become her trusty laser cannon.
“We're going to go down there and if there are bugs down there...” Adrian leans naturally towards the plan that involves slaughter. Coach reminds her, “Kid, remember why we came here.” Rescue missions first and all that. “Right, I guess first we'll make sure they don't have Eddy somewhere. If she's there, save her, then kill all the bugs. If not, kill'em.” Thus is the plan laid out.

Being a master of logic and reason – she did effortlessly destroy Muuka, even if the nega-muscle refused to accept this destruction – Aida figures, “She's probably with the bugs so the tiny ones can do that living in her thing.”

Backing up these claims is Altina, who nods in agreement. “Right. So we have to get those out of her too if that's how it is.” Like this, Adrian begins to think with jihad, picking up the bomb in case descending the ladder proves there's just a mass of the bugs waiting down there. There isn't, and the lights get dimmer by the minute. The ladder leads down into what looks like a large storage room, tall metal shelves surrounding the party on all sides, absent any contents they may have once held. The muscle follows the sound she heard, which seems to be coming from a hefty garage shutter on the other end of the room, light streaming in using the gap between it and the ground. That becomes the destination of interest, two possible means of entering the room visible: a handle upon the shutter, and a door off to the side. Adrian picks option three.

“Altina, please get off. I don't want to smash you into the door,” she informs her shoulder bird. For why not make an entrance dramatic? With an enthusiastic agreement, Altina hurls off and lands in a crouch, waiting with fingers crossed. “-Here comes the train~-” So announcing herself, and with an unliving explosive held ready, the muscle shoulder checks the shutter, ripping a gaping hole through insignificant metal. Greeting her is a pleasant, familiar sight.
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While there's a dearth of skittering, swarming insects, there are a few of the friends we've become acquainted with thus far. At the head of this group stand a pair of the generic Russian troopers accused of deserting, maddened by prolonged infestation and subservient to the swarm's will. Behind them can be found a number of our oldest acquaintances, the mixtures of bike and girl that first assailed us upon the African roads, the rev of their chitinously possessed engines producing the sound which drew the muscle here. Above and around them all can be found a group of the cybernetic fliers of disfigured limb, acting as support. The mass of bugged Russians turns as one, just in time to realize Aida's flying through the air, landing in the largest cluster of them. Behind their eyes, do the bugs in charge of them understand the girl's glee at this most precarious position? They have no time to.

Adrian rushes a confused trooper in the front, who stares blankly at the bomb now behind her lines. The first punch lands square on the back of her head, tearing it clean off and sending it careening across the ground like a bowling ball. The second, falling upon the neck stump where that head once rested, leads to a complete and total collapse as the muscle's fist dives through the whole of her torso. Within the goop surrounding her hand, she rips out the trooper's spine, leaving nothing to hold the ruined mass together, Russian soldier sloughing to the ground. “I GOT A HANDFUL OF SPINE AND A HEAD FULL OF MAD!” Adrian triumphantly declares, raising it high as Altina fires from behind her. Another dazed trooper finds skin beginning to boil and pop as familiar blue bolts whine towards her, but a glinting metallic skeleton beneath holds her form firm against the worst of it.
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That finally gets its attention, and the Russians seem to realize that they're not only under attack but down a girl. The wounded trooper spins around and drives the sharp edge of a shovel into Adrian's abs. While it carves an undeniable gash, the streaming trail of guts loosed are far from vital in this day and age. Slightly more vital, perhaps, are the legs that find themselves torn out from under Adrian, as a charging bike barrels straight through her – even more so are her arms, which the goring horns of another charge near before intervention. By the raising of Alexis' hand does the force send the second bike rocketing backwards, right next to Aida; by the flick of the other does the jedi's saber twirl through the air, clipping the bomb. A slight graze along one lattice is all it takes – Muuka may rest assured of enemy presence here, when an enormous explosion rips through the ranks of the enemies. Toughened undead flesh tries to withstand, but the divine detonation tears asunder body and limb, splattering much of the opposing force. Aida comes out untouched, as does the handle of the saber, catching the wounded trooper and severing her legs on its way back to Alexis' hand. Soon after, another hail of laser fire follows from Altina, and all that remains of the unfortunate girl are a few fingers clutching the shovel's handle desperately.
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In retribution for this, the final bike side-swipes the jedi, knocking her to the ground by sweeping her legs out from under her and across several feet of floor. The trio of enemy birds try and imitate Altina, exploding into laser fire, quite a lot of it flying directly for our own bird – but in their panic their shots soar wide, only managing to scorch the shutter's remains and the wall around it. On the ground, the fingers tense and fling the shovel upwards; it sails straight into Adrian's torso again, where it is unceremoniously pulled out and crushed, a stomp ending the fingers themselves and removing another combatant from the field. From the ground she sweeps up a blackened, half-melted steel spine, adding another to her collection. All the while, in the wake of her explosion, Aida latches onto the bike thrown her way. The claws of her hands dig her in as rows of teeth sink into biomechanical flesh, chunks pried loose and gulped down with gusto in a frenzied feast, what remains by the time she's shaken off resembling a pile of gore more than a vehicle. Surging towards the prone form of the bomb, the bike's own bloodied claws manage to rip organs free of Aida's insides without setting her off again, the first run of luck it's had all night. Its fellow bikes try to follow its example, but as one drives at Adrian, its claws merely clang off metallic muscle, while the one aimed straight at Alexis finds the force throwing it aside. To add insult to injury, Altina's lasers chase it as it's thrown away, leaving it horribly maimed by the time it skids to a stop.
In comparison, the volley of fire that follows from the fliers accomplishes almost nothing. One cluster of shots lands square on Altina's forehead, its effect only to leave a few singes – another manages much the same against Adrian. All the same she gives a furious bellow of, “NOW I'M MAD!” and rushes down one of the flung bikes. With fist and improvised spear she slaughters, impaling the giblets helplessly upon a spine, the better to let her other hand puree what remains. Thus another falls, and from the remains she scrounges up another spine. It greatly simplifies the matter of the flying enemies. Try to nimbly dart as they might, that grows increasingly difficult when Adrian chucks a length of metal clean through one, exploding out her back in a violent spray of sanguine scrap. They continue trying to fire back, but... their fates are already sealed. Aida's maw closes upon her chosen bike, the last of it vanishing within her ever-voracious gullet. Altina's constant stream of blue accomplishes so much more than they're capable of. In the end, Aida finds herself in the midst of wounded, panic-stricken fliers, wearing a grin as she pries at a lattice. Its cacophonous conflagration is what announces conflict's end, as the unfortunate souls are put to rest with resounding finality. Short and brutal, the fight finds the A-Team with comparative scratches. The odd limb is missing, blood dripping from variously gruesome wounds, but to the undead this is nothing.

A semblance of peace returns to the room, which the dolls can now inspect more closely. What they'll find is a tale for another time, as by this point, session seven had dragged on a long while, and this marks its conclusion. Like always, hopefully the people have enjoyed.
I'm currently reading the book and I kinda want to run the game for my group.
Is there a good quick reference for the rules so I can check the rules when I need to when running?

Why is Altina described as a bird or birb?
>Or a funny thing, if you're Coach. “Sounds like she's having better luck than you, kid.” A comment that earns her a quick, “Shut up.” It's a bit late though; Buinov's already laughing.
Two reasons. The first is that her feet are taloned, like a bird's. It came up in her original description, but that's an inordinate period of time back at this point, so I can't fault anyone that's forgotten it. The other reason is her mannerisms, which have trended towards occasionally avian. That first crops up when meeting Niu Xiao and Niu Jiu, which I purposefully waited for. 'Brb' specifically is either a slip of the fingers or that being snuck in during proofreading under my nose.

I like Rita. She makes the world feel a little warmer and less uncaring.
Was that the GMs intention, something I'm seeing that wasn't really there in the game, or something else?
Rita is absolutely a caring person trying to make the world around her just a little warmer. Funnily, though, she wasn't actually meant to be our surrogate bar mom initially. That was just none of the dolls functioning unless they got hammered last night. The GM has said that their original plan was that we would have started by working out of Lao Yue's place with official, sanctioned jobs, but we essentially overwrote that by latching onto BOTECO RITA as our base of operations.

One of these places had alcohol, a bed, and a mom. The other did not. It was inevitable.
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Would an AOE Hinder be broken?
Not if you don't wildly overtune it. A Hinder 1 only does so much, and is more about when you activate it and for what. There might not even be multiple things you want to hinder on the same count. Those multiple things might not really feel a Hinder 1 - if you go from an 8 to a 7 when smacking a horror, you don't care. Ultimately, it's about the actual statline of it more than the idea itself.

Yeah, honestly, we're slightly baffled he thought that would pan out. It's pretty obvious in hindsight we were going to be drawn to Rita.
>Red Planet
I am sort of just really bad at doing the story time thing compared to others and dont really know how to convey all that has been happening and going down in an interesting way
Glad to hear your game is still going!

Also don't worry too much about that. you get better through practice. Though last time wasn't bad.
Sorry for missing this last night, but yes. Coleo's always had a knack for urban exploring and otherwise getting into places she probably ought not be. But recently she picked up a couple of mutations that kind of take her to the next level. Principally Adhesive Pads which should be pretty self explanatory.

It also inflicted Madness, yes. It was basically a spirit attack with an ancillary effect.
If other threads on /tg/ had half this OC /tg/ would be even better than nostalgia fags always think /tg/ used to be.
>Nighttime descends on the Congo

They are in the Congo? I thought they were in Asia Minor/Anatolia?
No, they're definitely on the lower portion of the African continent. In fact if you look at the map in >>74358985 I believe the lower of the red dots on Africa is the geographical position of the town the party currently finds themselves in, which is just by the Congo southern border.

I'd just like to stress that, while I won't speak for my partner in crime, I am essentially a madman with infinite free time. That is the only reason Gravel happens in this fashion. Storytime is storytime, anon, and always remember: /tg/ loves storytime.
It's a damn good thing they both regenerate.
>The mass of bugged Russians turns as one, just in time to realize Aida's flying through the air, landing in the largest cluster of them. Behind their eyes, do the bugs in charge of them understand the girl's glee at this most precarious position? They have no time to.

I love this beautiful mental image born of linguistic contortion.
You have a strange way of writing.

I am enjoying your story and the delivery of it.
Dude you did good last time.
This thread is close do done.
I would love to read about what's been going on with the Red Planet game in the next thread through.


Thread submitted to the sup/tg/ archive.
GMs and Necromancers.

How do you organize and present your enemy unit information and notes to yourself so that you can run combat and sessions efficiently?

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Yes, they took a Madness Point if they failed. Thus, Madness Check.
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